Investigators seem to have turned up new clues in the manhunt for Brian Laundrie, who fled after the disappearance of his girlfriend Gabrielle Petito, whose remains were found in a Wyoming campground in September. Laundrie has been missing since Sept. 13 after returning home from the months-long road trip he was taking with Petito.
Law enforcement and private organizations have been searching for Laundrie in a variety of locations. Now, police have discovered possible evidence that he is hiding out in Florida’s Carlton Reserve, where he told his parents he was going when he left home on Sept. 13. CNN reported:
Police searching for Brian Laundrie have found the remnants of a campsite that appeared to have been recently used at the Florida reserve that has been the focus on efforts to find him, a source close to the family told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday.
Members of law enforcement had asked Laundrie’s father to show the trails in the reserve on which his son was known to travel. Since the manhunt began, the Carlton Reserve has been closed to visitors.
Steve Bertolino, the lawyer representing the Laundrie family, told CNN:
Since the preserve has been closed to the public Chris has not been able to look for Brian in the only place Chris and Roberta believe Brian may be. Unfortunately North Port police had to postpone Chris’ involvement but Chris and Roberta are hopeful there will be another opportunity to assist.
The attorney also indicated the family believes he is hiding out in the reserve and not another area.
Law enforcement still has not designated Laundrie as a suspect; he is still considered a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance. Shortly after the authorities found her remains, the medical examiner ruled the manner of death as homicide.
However, a federal judge did issue a warrant for Laundrie’s arrest, alleging that he illegally used another person’s debit card.
The North Port Police Department confirmed that a notice was placed on an abandoned vehicle that was owned by the Laundrie family near the reserve, according to ABC 16. The report also notes:
The abandoned vehicle notice was placed on a Ford Mustang belonging to the Laundrie family outside the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on Sept. 14, North Port police said Wednesday. The park acts as an entrance to the Carlton Reserve, not far from the family home in North Port.
Bertolino told CNN that after communicating with the FBI further, “We now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday, Sept. 13.” Previously, his parents stated he had left on Sept. 14.
Laundrie’s father went to look for his son on Sept. 13 after he did not return from his trip. They came back to the area on Sept. 15 to pick up the car. Bertolino said:
The Laundries were basing the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events. Upon further communication with the FBI and confirmation of the Mustang being at the Laundrie residence on Wednesday Sept. 15, we now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday Sept. 13.
When Laundrie left, he left behind his cell phone and wallet. Security footage showed him purchasing what appeared to be a burner phone at a store accompanied by an “older woman.”
Petito’s remains were found near the entrance to the Grand Tetons, according to her mother. Her father said it was in a clearing in front of the remnants of a fire ring. “You could see where the rocks had been moved to make the fire ring,” he said.
He also indicated that “It’s definitely not an area that was heavily trafficked.”
The authorities have had a difficult time locating Laundrie. But this new development might be an indication that they are on the right track.