Fourth day of searching in a Florida park for a friend of Gabi Pettito
On Wednesday, search teams deployed to a Florida wilderness park to search for Gabriel “Gabi” Pettito’s friend, who authorities say was killed while on a cross-country trip with him.
Northport police spokesman Joshua Taylor said the search resumed around 8 a.m. Wednesday at the 24,000-acre (97,700 hectare) Carlton Reserve park. Investigators say Brian Laundry’s parents told them he went there after coming home without Pettito on Sept.
It was the fourth day of searching at Carlton Reserve, with operations suspended on Monday while the FBI searched Laundry’s nearby home for clues.
The outdoor hunt includes thousands of acres of subtropical forbidden, swampy land dotted with crocodiles, snakes, turkeys, deer, and many other wildlife. There are more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) of hiking and horseback riding trails, as well as many camping areas and rivers.
Pettito, 22, was reported dead on 9/11 by her parents after they had not answered calls and texts for several days while the pair were visiting parks in the West. Her body was discovered Sunday in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
Brent Bleu, a Teton County coroner, classified Pettito’s death as homicide — meaning her death was caused by someone else — but hasn’t revealed how she was killed pending further autopsy results. Laundry, 23, is not accused of any crime but is considered a significant person in the case.
As theories and online intelligence proliferate day by day, the FBI and police have been inundated with tips about possible Laundrie sightings. None of it has come out yet, Taylor, a Northport spokesperson, said. He also fought rumors that Laundry was arrested on Tuesday.
“These reports are unfortunately wrong. Please rest assured that when Brian is found, we will be more than happy to let everyone know,” Taylor said in an email.
Petito and Laundrie grew up together on Long Island, New York, but in recent years they have moved to North Port, where his parents live. Investigators searched their home, about 35 miles (55 kilometers) south of Sarasota, earlier this week, and a Ford Mustang driven by Laundry’s mother was pulled out of the driveway. Authorities believe Laundry drove that car to Carlton Reserve before it disappeared.
The couple documented their online ride in a white Fort Transit van that had been converted into a camper, but got into a physical altercation on August 12 in Moab, Utah that led to a police halt over a possible domestic violence case. In the end, the police there decided to separate the arguing couple overnight but no charges were brought and no serious injuries were reported.
The FBI is seeking information from anyone who may have seen it in the Grand Teton area as well as any other national advice.
“We join the FBI in seeking ongoing public assistance by sharing any information through the 1-800-CALL FBI information lines or tips.fbi.gov,” Taylor said.