Police Say No Campgrounds Found in Nature Preserve During Search for Brian Laundrie.
North Port Police say investigators did not find a campground in the sprawling nature preserve that has been the focus of the search for Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito’s missing fiancé.
Police spokesman Josh Taylor’s confirmation that there was nowhere to camp comes after a source close to the Laundrie family told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that investigators had informed them that police had made a discovery in the Carlton Reservation of Florida.
The source insisted Thursday that the Laundrie family had been told a camp had been found.
“Is it possible that they thought there might be a camp out there or something they could have seen from the air, but when they hit the ground it wasn’t what it turned out to be? Sure, I think it’s a possibility, ”Taylor said. “Bottom line, investigators tell me that no camp was found out there.”
Also, Thursday, Laundrie’s father, Chris Laundrie, visited the preserve, a 24,565-acre wilderness area near Laundrie’s family home, for several hours to assist in the search, family attorney Steven Bertolino told CNN. The father showed police the trails and places where he and Laundrie have hiked and frequented, Bertolino said.
“There were no discoveries, but the effort was useful for everyone,” said Bertolino. “It appears that the water in the reserve is receding and certain areas are more accessible to search. The entire Laundrie family is grateful for the hard work of the dedicated members of law enforcement who have been searching the Reserve for Brian for the past few weeks. Hopefully, they’ll find Brian soon. ”
The ongoing search occurs as investigators attempt to piece together what happened to Petito, 22, and Laundrie, 23, on his trip in a white Ford Transit truck through the American West this summer. Laundry and the truck, but not Petito, returned to his family’s North Port home on September 1. Petito’s parents, unable to contact her or Laundrie, reported her missing 10 days later.
While police searched for Petito, Laundrie refused to speak to investigators and then disappeared himself. The national focus on her whereabouts also revealed conflicts in their relationship, particularly during an August domestic dispute and police interaction, who disagreed with her sun-kissed and aspirational posts on social media.
His remains were recovered Sept. 19 in Wyoming, near where the couple had last been seen together, and a coroner determined that he died of homicide, the FBI said.
Laundrie has not been charged with her death, although she is the subject of a federal arrest warrant for unauthorized use of someone else’s debit card in the days after Petito last spoke with his family.
An abandoned vehicle was recovered near the reserve
In recent days, researchers have uncovered new details about Laundrie’s previous movements in the reserve.
North Port Police confirmed that a notice was posted on an abandoned Ford Mustang belonging to the Laundrie family outside the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on September 14. The park acts as an entrance to the Carlton Reserve.
Bertolino, the family’s attorney, told CNN that after further communication with the FBI, “we now believe that the day Brian left for a walk on the reservation was Monday, September 13.” His parents had previously told authorities that he had left on September 14.
Chris Laundrie went looking for his son on the night of Sept. 13 when he did not return from the park, Bertolino told CNN on Wednesday.
The next day, Brian’s parents returned to the area to look for Brian and saw the summons in the car, Bertolino said. The parents returned again the next day, September 15, to retrieve the vehicle.
“The laundries based the date Brian left on his memory of certain events. Following further communication with the FBI and confirmation that the Mustang was at Laundrie’s residence on Wednesday, September 15, we now believe that the day Brian left for a walk through the reservation was Monday, September 13, “said Bertolino.
CNN asked Bertolino if Brian’s parents believe he is on the reservation or in another area. “No, they don’t think it’s in another area. They think it’s in the reserve, ”he said.
‘I want to see him in a jail cell for the rest of his life
Petito’s body was found about a five to 10-minute walk from where his truck was last seen near the entrance to Grand Tetons, on the border of the Bridger-Teton National Forest, according to his mother Nichole Schmidt and stepfather Jim. Schmidt during the second installment of an exclusive interview with “Dr. Phil ”program that aired on Wednesday.
Gabby’s body was in a clearing and was right in front of the remains of a ring of fire, Jim Schmidt said. “You could see where the rocks had been moved to make the fire go off,” he said.
“It’s definitely not an area that has been heavily trafficked,” he added.
Jim Schmidt left a monument and sunflowers on the site, CNN previously reported.
The Schmidts were joined by Gabby’s father, Joe Petito, and his wife Tara Petito, along with their attorney Richard Stafford, for the interview with host Phil McGraw.
Joe Petito said he wants Laundrie found alive so he can spend his life behind bars.
“I want to see him in a jail cell for the rest of his life where – he’s a nature lover – being in that concrete cell and he can’t go see those trees and hug himself – and smell the fresh air like that,” Petito said.
“I want to look him in the eye,” said Nichole Schmidt.
Bertolino declined to comment Wednesday on the topic “Dr. Phil ”interview.
In late September, Laundrie’s parents issued a statement through their attorney, saying: “Chris and Roberta Laundrie don’t know where Brian is. They are worried about Brian and hope the FBI can locate him. Speculation from the public and some in the press that the parents helped Brian get out of the family home or avoid arrest on a warrant that was issued after Brian had already been missing for several days is simply incorrect. ”