North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor said Saturday that Laundry’s family told police he left the house on Tuesday with his bag and told them he was heading to the reserve.
According to police, the laundry returned to North Port, Florida without Pettito on September 1. Officers later found that the van in which the couple were traveling was in the house Petito shared with laundry and his parents in North Port.
Police visited the home after Petito was reported missing, but Laundry’s family declined to speak and instead passed the information to officers for their attorney, Taylor said earlier this week.
The house was searched on Friday evening, when Laundry’s family told police they had not seen him for several days. The Laundry family’s attorney, Steven Bertolino, said Friday that the laundry’s whereabouts are “currently unknown.”
“All of Gabby’s family wants the world to know that Brian is not missing, he is hiding. Gabby is missing,” Petito family attorney Richard Stafford said in a brief statement sent to Granthshala.
On Saturday, the FBI said Petito’s search included ground surveys in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park with the National Park Service and local officials.
Search for laundry continues in ‘Vishal’ nature reserve
Police said 50 law enforcement officers from five local agencies and the FBI searched laundry at the “huge” Carlton Reserve in Florida’s Sarasota County, before suspending efforts Saturday evening because of darkness, police said.
Taylor said the search effort involved the use of drones and Bloodhounds, who used laundry clothes taken from her home to smell her. The police initially focused their search on a park of about 200 acres and then expanded to the rest of the reserve.
Police believe the vehicle the laundry was driving was probably also in reserve, but has since been returned to the laundry house.
Taylor said Saturday that the laundry is under “enormous pressure” to respond to what is happening.
When asked why Laundry’s family didn’t tell police his whereabouts until Friday, Taylor said, “It’s a good question.”
“You know we’ve obviously been trying to reach out to the family since (last) Saturday to get answers on this matter,” Taylor said. “The first time we had an in-depth conversation with him (Friday) was when his lawyer called and said the family was concerned about Brian’s whereabouts.”
Granthshala’s Alta Spell, Sean Nottingham, Christina Maxouris, Aya Alamarossi, Rob Frehse, Missen Lee and Dina Hackney contributed to this report.
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