BRIAN Laundrie, a key person of interest in the murder investigation of his vlogger fiancee Gabby Petito, remains at large more than a week after vanishing from his parents' home in Florida.
The 23-year-old, who has not yet been deemed a suspect in Gabby's death, was allegedly last seen by his family on September 14th when he told them he was going to hike in Carlton Reserve, near Venice, but never returned.
He reportedly drove from his family home to the park in his silver Ford Mustang.
Laundrie's parents told police they only grew concerned between 24 to 48 hours after their son failed to return from the hike.
They claim they drove up to the 25,000-acre park, spotted Laundrie's car, and drove it home after allegedly finding a note on the windshield left by police asking for it to be removed from the area.
They also said they had no contact with their son during that time.
FBI investigators have been scouring the park for several days but have so far yielded no trace of Laundrie.
Read our Gabby Petito live blog for the very latest news and updates…
On Wednesday, an underwater recovery team was called to assist with the search but no further details were offered.
In the days since he vanished, a series of possible sightings of Laundrie have been reported in a number of states, including elsewhere in Florida and in Alabama.
TRAIL CAM SIGHTING
The most recent potential sighting came in Okaloosa County, Florida on Monday, when Facebook user Sam Bass shared an image of a man he spotted on one of his trail cams.
Along with a grab of the male figure, Bass 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.
"Authorities have been contacted but people in the North West Florida area be on the lookout."
The man in the picture is holding two backpacks: a larger light-colored backpack and a small patterned dark backpack.
The smaller bag appears to match the one Laundrie was seen carrying in the bodycam footage from August 12 when cops were called to an incident between him and Petito.
It also appears to be similar to a bag seen in Petito's Instagram posts.
The larger lighter colored bag the man in the trail picture is carrying also seems similar to a bag seen on Petito's Instagram feed and resembles a bag spotted in the back of the couple's van in the body cam footage.
However, on Tuesday, the sheriff's office said it had concluded its search and found no evidence that the man depicted in the footage was Laundrie.
They carried out an extensive search, including a search by drone, of the area but said "nothing of note" was located, according to local reporter Brian Entin.
"No connection to Brian Laundrie in this area," the sheriff's office said.
“There are no known possible past or current connections between Laundrie and anyone in this area at this time to follow up on. In the meantime we will remain vigilant and if anything new of significance develops we will share.”
'DOZENS OF SIGHTINGS' IN ALABAMA
Alabama has also become a hotbed for potential Laundrie sightings in the last few days, despite the missing van-lifer having no connections to the area.
Police across the state received more than a dozen tips alone on Monday but none of the calls yielded any concrete leads.
Social media was rife with reported Laundrie sightings in Mobile across the weekend, Fox 10 reported.
One post holds that he stopped inside a sub shop at Rangeline Plaza on Halls Mill Road.
But the manager of the eatery told the network that he worked Sunday and saw nothing out of the ordinary and that police have not contacted him.
Locals – and much of social media – were spun into a frenzy again when police reported a body of a man had been found near a dumpster of a Walmart in Tillman's corner on Monday.
Speculative posts flooded across Twitter that the dead male, who was believed to have hung himself, was in fact Laundrie.
Those claims were quickly dispelled by police, however, who announced the deceased male was a homeless person and in no way connected to the Petito case.
Mobile County Sheriff’s Officer Capt. Paul Burch said deputies also checked out multiple reported sightings from Grand Bay to Semmes, to Wilmer.
“They’ve varied from the suspect hitchhiking or walking down the street in Wilmer and turns his head every time a car passes,” Burch said.
“We’ve dispatched a vehicle for each and every call and verified that the person was not Laundrie.”
Burch told Fox 10 it does not make sense that Laundrie would be on foot since he had access to a car.
But that did little to stop multiple reports flooding in that he might have been seen walking on Interstate 10 toward Mississippi.
“There was one gentleman walking I-10, you know, which you’re really not supposed to do. However, he was checked by Mobile PD,” he said.
“Between Mobile PD and us, he was checked seven times. And so, I finally said, ‘Give him a ride to the state line, and that way won’t be getting calls and tying up units unnecessarily.’”
CLOSE TO HOME
Another potential sighting of Laundrie was reported around two blocks from his parent's home in North Port, Florida on Friday.
A passerby snapped a cellphone image of the bald male, who was wearing flip-flops, a grey t-shirt, sunglasses, and listening to music.
North Port Police Department spokesman Josh Taylor told the New York Post they are aware of the photo and are investigating it, but that while it looks like Brian, the man in the photo has a tattoo on his left arm, unlike Gabby's fiancé.
“Not looking like him. Tattoo on left arm … but we are going to make sure,” said Taylor. "Other than that, sure as heck looks like him.”
According to metadata, the photo was taken just before 5pm on Friday -about an hour and a half before police showed up at Brian's parents' home and were told the 23-year-old had been missing since Tuesday.
The passerby who took the image, Zachary Randazzo, told the Post that he's not "100 percent sure" the photo shows Brian, but "it looks so close I don’t know how it couldn’t be him.”
Within two days of that sighting, human remains later identified to belong to Gabby were recovered from Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
She'd believed to have died by homicide though her official cause of death remains pending.
The couple had been staying at the park at the time of her disappearance, some two months into their four-month adventure across the country in a converted van.
Gabby was last seen on August 24, 2021, checking out of a hotel with Laundrie in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Her last known contact with her family was on August 25 when she and Brian reached the Wyoming nature reserve.
Laundrie then returned alone to Florida in the couple's van on September 1 without Gabby.
Gabby's mother said she pleaded with Laundrie for answers about where her daughter was but received no replies. She then reported Gabby missing to the police on September 11.
Laundrie disappeared three days later and his whereabouts remain unknown.
TIKTOK 'PICKED UP LAUNDRIE'
A TikToker has since claimed that she encountered Laundrie at Grand Teton shortly before he returned to Florida.
Miranda Baker, a Wisconsin-based TikTok user, said she and her boyfriend were approached by Laundrie on August 29 at around 5.30pm, who offered them $200 for a 10-mile ride.
Backer recounted Laundrie saying he "needed to go to Jackson," which is where she and her boyfriend were headed.
She continued: "So I said, 'You know, hop in,' and he hopped in the back of my Jeep, we then proceeded to make small talk."
It was then Baker claimed Laundrie revealed he had been camping without his fiance as she was "working on their social media page back at their van."
Baker and her boyfriend ended up dropping Laundrie off at the Jackson Dam after he "freaked out" when they mentioned the name of the area they were driving to.
"Nope, I need to get out right now, pull over," Baker recalled Laundrie saying after they mentioned they were going to Jackson Hole.
The couple allegedly dropped Laundrie home at 6.09pm on August 29, just 39 minutes after they picked him up.
Baker also noted that Laundrie "didn't look dirty," adding: "For someone who was camping multiple days, like, he didn't look dirty, he didn't smell dirty. So that part was kind of weird."
Baker reported the incident to the FBI and has since been interviewed by North Port police.
The search for Laundrie continued on Wednesday. No further updates have been issued.
Gabby Petito timeline
Gabby Petito, 22, was last seen on August 24, leaving a hotel in Utah. Here is a timeline of Gabby Petito’s disappearance:
- June 2021 – Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie set off on a cross-country trip across the US.
- July 4 – Gabby posts photos of herself barefoot in Gove County, Kansas.
- July 8 – Gabby posts photos of herself at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
- July 18 – Gabby and Brian post photos of themselves at Utah's Zion National Park.
- August 12 – Body camera footage was released in September showing an encounter Brian and Gabby had with police in Utah. Police confirmed that no significant injuries were reported.
- August 19 – Gabby and Brian post a video on their YouTube channel chronicling their trip. The video receives more than 200,000 views.
- August 24 – Gabby is last spotted leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- September 1 – Brian returns home to Florida without Gabby.
- September 11 – Gabby's parents report her missing to Suffolk County police.
- September 15 – Florida's North Port police announce Brian is a person of interest in the case. He is not charged with any crime.
- September 16 – Utah police release body camera footage of the police encounter with Brian and Gabby.
- September 17 – Brian's parents say they have not seen their son in a couple of days.
- September 18 – Police announce they were searching Carlton Reserve in Florida for Brian. Police announce they have not found anything.
- September 19 – Authorities in Wyoming say they found a body in Grand Teton National Park. The FBI announces the body was believed to be Gabby's but a full forensic identification needs to be completed first to confirm.
- September 20 – Police execute a search warrant on Laundrie's home, seizing his silver Mustang and a hard drive that may contain "evidence relevant to proving that a felony has been committed."
- September 21 – Officials announce they will be conducting an autopsy on the remains found in Wyoming to confirm whether or not they belong to Gabby. Police also resumed their search for Laundrie, this time on the Venice side of Carlton Reserve.
- September 21 – The FBI announced the body found in Wyoming was identified as Gabby's. The cause of death was not yet revealed.
- September 21 – The Teton County Coroner's office said Gabby's official cause of death was still pending but the initial manner of death is homicide.
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