Gabby Petito: Federal warrant issued for Brian Laundrie’s arrest
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By Theresa Seiger and Bob D'Angelo, Cox Media Group National Content Desk
SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — The FBI is asking for help finding Brian Laundrie, the fiance of slain Florida woman Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, as search teams scoured the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County for a fifth day on Thursday in search of the 23-year-old. A federal warrant for Laundrie’s arrest was issued in Wyoming on Thursday afternoon.
Update 5:50 p.m. EDT Sept. 23: A federal arrest warrant has been issued for Brian Laundrie, the FBI’s Denver office announced Thursday afternoon.
In a Twitter post, the agency said: “The U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a federal arrest warrant for Brian Christopher Laundrie pursuant to a Federal Grand Jury indictment related to Mr. Laundrie’s activities following the death of Gabrielle Petito.”
“While this warrant allows law enforcement to arrest Mr. Laundrie, the FBI and law partners across the country continue to investigate the facts and circumstances of Ms. Petito’s homicide,” Michael Schneider, FBI Denver special agent, said in a news release.
According to court documents, Laundrie allegedly used Petito’s debit card “on or about Aug. 30″ and through Sept. 1. The documents stated that Laundrie used at least one debit card and accessed two of Petito’s Capital One accounts and “obtained things of value aggregating to $1,000 or more during that period.”
Update 8:57 p.m. EDT Sept. 21:The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office dive team searched for Brian Laundrie at the Carlton Reserve, but Wednesday’s search ended with no sign of the fiance of Gabrielle “Gabby Petito,” who is a person of interest in the death of the 22-year-old woman.
The North Port Police Department, FBI and other law enforcement agencies searched the 25,000-acre swampy nature reserve for a fourth straight day, concluding at 7:15 p.m. EDT, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reported.
“We’ve deployed numerous resources, and we are trying to cover every acre in this preserve,” North Port Police Commander Joe Fussell said in a video released by the agency Wednesday. “Our law enforcement partners, they’re motivated, and they’re hungry to find Brian Laundrie.
“It’s rough out there. Yeah, it’s rough out there. It’s hot. It’s wet.”
Police used dive teams, boats, and sonar equipment Wednesday to search the larger bodies of water at the reserve, North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor said in an email to the Herald-Tribune.
Original report: Laundrie was named a person of interest in Petito’s death after authorities in Wyoming confirmed Tuesday that the 22-year-old’s remains were recovered in the remote Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in the Bridger-Teton National Forest.
Petito’s cause of death remains listed as pending final autopsy results. Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue ruled her manner of death to be homicide.
The FBI asked that anyone with information on Laundrie’s whereabouts contact officials at 1-800-CALL-FBI (1-800-225-5324) or submit information online at tips.fbi.gov.
Officials particularly asked for help from anyone who used the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in Wyoming between Aug. 27 and Aug. 30, anyone who might have had contact with either Petito or Laundrie and anyone who might have seen their vehicle.
Family members said they last heard from Petito at the end of August as she was visiting Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. The visit was part of a road trip which Petito and Laundrie embarked on in July in a converted Fort Transit camper van, according to The Associated Press.
Police said Laundrie returned in the van to his family’s house in North Port on Sept. 1. Petito was not with him and he declined before his disappearance to speak with investigators searching for her.
Authorities began searching the nearly 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve for Laundrie on Saturday, one day after family members reported him missing in North Port. Officials with several agencies, including the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, North Port police and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, scoured the area with the help of K-9s and at least one drone over the weekend, though officials found no sign of Laundrie.
Family members told police they last saw him wearing a hiking bag on Sept. 14. They picked up a car believed to be used by Laundrie from the reserve on Thursday, ABC News reported.
Officials paused search efforts in the nature reserve Monday, with police telling WFLA that they believed they had “exhausted all avenues in searching of the grounds there.” That day, the FBI conducted a search warrant at the Laundrie family home where both Laundrie and Petito lived. Authorities declined to immediately provide more information on the search, citing the “active and ongoing investigation.”
The search for Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve resumed Tuesday.