(NORTH PORT, Fla.) — A massive search is continuing in southern Florida for Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend of Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old woman who went missing on a cross-country trip and who authorities confirmed Tuesday as the body discovered on Sunday in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.
The search for the 23-year-old Laundrie is centered around North Port, Florida, where investigators said Laundrie returned to his home on Sept. 1 without Petito but driving her 2012 Ford Transit.
Laundrie has been named by police as a “person of interest” in Petito’s disappearance. Laundrie has refused to speak to the police and has not been seen since Tuesday, Sept. 14, according to law enforcement officials.
The search for Laundrie is the latest twist in the case that has grabbed national attention as he and Petito had been traveling across the country since June, documenting the trip on social media.
Petito’s parents, who live in Long Island, New York, reported her missing on Sept. 11 after not hearing from her for two weeks.
Here are the latest developments. All times Eastern:
Sep 21, 11:44 pm
Search ends for another day with ‘nothing of note’ found
The North Port Police Department said it had ended its search of the Carlton Reserve as darkness closed in with nothing found.
“Search of the Carlton & nearby lands concluded for the evening. Nothing of note,” the police department shared in a tweet. “The current plan is to return Wednesday with a similar operation.”
Police shared a photo of the search operation’s base in the reserve as well as one of the bloodhounds being used to look for the missing person of interest in conjunction with the death of his girlfriend.
Gabby Petito’s body was officially identified on Tuesday evening after it was found near Grand Teton National Park on Sunday. The Teton County coroner said Petito died via homicide, but did not yet announce a cause of death.
Sarasota police also later debunked a rumor that Laundrie had been taken into custody. It said on Twitter that they had received several tips about him being seen, but none of them panned out.
Sep 21, 4:54 pm
Authorities investigating report of man seen in Panhandle matching Laundrie’s description
The Okaloosa County, Florida, Sheriff’s Office said on Tuesday that it is investigating a report that a man matching the description of Brian Laundrie was captured on a trail camera walking on a property in the Florida Panhandle area.
The individual was purportedly spotted Sept. 20 on an automatic wildlife camera in Baker, which is more than 500 northwest of where authorities have focused their search Laundrie.
“The OCSO did its due diligence in response to this report and is wrapping up an extensive search that took place in this area to include nearby farmlands. No one — and nothing — of note was located. The individual referenced in the post below has no known ties to our area,” Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office wrote in a Facebook post on Tuesday afternoon, featuring a blurry image from the trail camera of a man walking with a backpack.
The image was initially posted on Facebook by local resident Sam Bass, who wrote, “I’m not saying this is the guy but whoever was on my trail camera this morning in Baker, Fl strongly fits the description of Brian Laundrie.” Bass wrote that authorities have been contacted, and advised northwest Florida residents to be on the lookout.
Sep 21, 2:31 pm
Police release video of search for Laundrie in swamp preserve
Police released a YouTube video Tuesday afternoon showing the extensive search going on in the sprawling Carlton Reserve near North Port.
The video showed officers from multiple law enforcement agencies using search dogs, drones and all-terrain vehicles to comb the 25,000-acre preserve.
“The terrain is very difficult. Essentially, 75% of it is under water and other areas that are dry we’re trying to clear,” a North Port police officer said in the video. “We’re expecting to get wet by the end of the day and check the entire area for Brian Laundrie.”
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