ALL NEWS

Police look for Laundrie in reserve; Petito still not found

Sep 18, 2021, 9:50 AM | Updated: 10:19 am
September 18, 2021: The FBI and North Port, Florida, police, search the Carlson Reserve for Brian L...
September 18, 2021: The FBI and North Port, Florida, police, search the Carlson Reserve for Brian Laundrie. Photo credit: North Port, FL police Twitter account

NORTH PORT, Fla. (AP) — Police in Florida on Saturday searched a vast wildlife reserve near the Gulf Coast for 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, a person of interest in the disappearance of his girlfriend, Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito.

Don’t miss new developments, download the KSL NewsRadio app for Android

Dozens of North Port police officers, FBI agents and members of other law enforcement agencies searched the 24,000-acre (9,712-hectare) Carlton Reserve in the Sarasota, Florida area.

“His family says they believe he entered the area earlier this week,” North Port Police tweeted Saturday.

This police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Brian Laundrie talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with his girlfriend, Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, near the entrance to Arches National Park on Aug. 12, 2021. (The Moab Police Department via AP)

Laundrie’s family earlier told officers that they haven’t seen him since Tuesday. Police said the conversation Friday evening was the first time they’d spoken with the Laundries in detail about the case, and that the meeting came at the family’s request. An attorney for the family called FBI investigators and said they wanted to talk about Laundrie’s disappearance, police said.

Stay up to date on this story, download the KSL NewsRadio app for iOS

Laundrie and Petito, 22, left in July on a cross-country trek in a converted van to visit national parks in the U.S. West. Police said Laundrie was alone when he drove the van back to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida, on Sept. 1. Petito’s family filed a missing persons report Sept. 11 with police in Suffolk County, New York.

Laundrie has been identified as a person of interest in the case.

“It is important to note that while Brian is a person of interest in Gabby’s disappearance, he is not wanted for a crime,” North Port police said in Friday’s statement. It added that the investigation is now a “multiple missing person” case.

An attorney for Brian Laundrie, Steven Bertolino, did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Associated Press on Friday night.
Attorneys for the Petito family released a statement saying that Laundrie was not “missing.”

This police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van she was traveling in with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, near the entrance to Arches National Park on Aug. 12, 2021. (The Moab Police Department via AP)

“All of Gabby’s family want the world to know that Brian is not missing, he is hiding. Gabby is missing,” the statement from the law office of Richard B. Stafford said.

Earlier in the week, Petito’s family pleaded for the Laundrie family to tell them where their son last saw her. Petito and Laundrie were childhood sweethearts who met while growing up on Long Island, New York. His parents later moved to North Port, about 35 miles (55 kilometers) south of Sarasota.

Police video released by the Moab Police Department in Utah showed that an officer pulled the van over on Aug. 12 after it was seen speeding and hitting a curb near the entrance to Arches National Park. The body cam video showed an emotional Petito, who sat inside a police cruiser while officers also questioned Laundrie.

Laundrie says on the video the couple got into a minor scuffle that began when he climbed into the van with dirty feet, and said he didn’t want to pursue a domestic violence charge against Petito, who officers decided was the aggressor.

Ultimately Moab police decided not file any charges and instead separated the couple for the night, with Laundrie checking into a motel and Petito remaining with the converted sleeper van.

This undated photo provided by the North Port, Fla., Police Department shows Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito. Petito, 22, vanished while on a cross-country trip in a converted camper van with her boyfriend. Investigators say she last contacted her family in late August 2021 when the couple was visiting Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. Much of their trip was documented on social media accounts that abruptly ceased. (Courtesy of North Port Police Department via AP)

The official conversation with the family Friday came shortly after the North Port Chief Todd Garrison had publicly vented frustration over Brian Laundrie’s lack of help on Wednesday, pleading for Laundrie’s lawyer to arrange a conversation. “Two people left on a trip and one person returned!” an earlier tweet by the police chief had said.

Their trek in the Fort Transit van began in July from Long Island. They intended to reach Oregon by Halloween according to their social media accounts, but Petito vanished after her last known contact with family in late August from Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, authorities said.

In other developments, a sheriff in Utah said Friday that detectives have determined there is no connection between Petito’s disappearance on the trip and a still-unsolved slaying of two women who were fatally shot at a campsite near Moab, Utah. The bodies of the two women, Kylen Schulte, 24, and Crystal Turner, 38, were found six days after the traffic stop involving Laundrie and Petito.

Utah’s Grand County Sheriff Steven White said without elaboration in a news release the two cases were unrelated.

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Today’s Top Stories

All News

utah snow days...
Devin Oldroyd

Weather causing delayed starts for several schools across Utah

Due to weather, many schools across the state are on two-hour delayed starts Monday, Jan. 30.
1 day ago
Suspected arsonist appears on surveillance footage lighting Molotov cocktail in front of Temple Ner...
Celina Tebor, Isa Kaufman-Geballe and Zoe Sottile, CNN

Man throws Molotov cocktail at New Jersey synagogue in arson attempt, police say

A man threw a Molotov cocktail at a New Jersey synagogue in an arson attempt on Sunday morning, police and the synagogue said.
1 day ago
donald trump...
Kate Sullivan, Gabby Orr and Kristen Holmes, CNN

Trump says he’s ‘more angry’ and ‘more committed’ to White House bid as he breaks his campaign trail hiatus

Former President Donald Trump said he's "more committed" to winning back the White House as he hit the campaign trail after announcing a third presidential bid.
1 day ago
Atlanta Police Officers watch as protesters march during a rally against the fatal police assault o...
Nouran Salahieh, CNN

Protesters across the US decry police brutality after Tyre Nichols’ death

Protesters took to the streets to decry police brutality after the release of video depicting the violent beating that led to the death of Tyre Nichols.
1 day ago
A hiring sign is displayed in the window of a Panera Bread store in Pittsburgh on Monday, Jan. 23, ...
Paul R. La Monica, CNN

Jobs report to give further clues about where economy is headed

Economists predict that 185,000 jobs were added last month, a slowdown from the gain of 223,000 jobs in December and 263,000 in November.
1 day ago
Sanpete Co Fatal...
Waverly Golden

Three vehicle crash in Sanpete County leaves one dead

One person is dead following a three vehicle crash in Sanpete County around 7:30 p.m. on Friday, January 28.
2 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Banner with Cervical Cancer Awareness Realistic Ribbon...
Intermountain Health

Five Common Causes of Cervical Cancer – and What You Can Do to Lower Your Risk

January is National Cervical Cancer Awareness month and cancer experts at Intermountain Health are working to educate women about cervical cancer, the tests that can warn women about potential cancer, and the importance of vaccination.
Kid holding a cisco fish at winterfest...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Get Ready for Fun at the 2023 Bear Lake Monster Winterfest

The Bear Lake Monster Winterfest is an annual weekend event jam-packed full of fun activities the whole family can enjoy. This year the event will be held from January 27-29 at the Utah Bear Lake State Park Marina and Sunrise Resort and Event Center in Garden City, Utah. 
happy friends with sparklers at christmas dinner...
Macey's

15 Easy Christmas Dinner Ideas

We’ve scoured the web for you and narrowed down a few of our favorite Christmas dinner ideas to make your planning easy. Choose from the dishes we’ve highlighted to plan your meal or start brainstorming your own meal plan a couple of weeks before to make sure you have time to shop and prepare.
Spicy Homemade Loaded Taters Tots...
Macey's

5 Game Day Snacks for the Whole Family (with recipes!)

Try these game day snacks to make watching football at home with your family feel like a special occasion. 
Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...
Sorenson

The Best Tools for Deaf and Hard-of-Hearing Workplace Success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...
Macey's

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
Police look for Laundrie in reserve; Petito still not found