Florida police have revealed Gabby Petito’s fiancé Brian Laundrie was under surveillance when he disappeared and sparked a manhunt in the US.
Laundrie became a person of interest in Petito’s case after he returned home from travelling alone with no explanation for the whereabouts of his fiancée.
Petito’s parents reported their daughter missing on September 11, 10 days after Laundrie’s return, and just a few days later Laundrie’s parents told police he too had disappeared. Petito’s body was later discovered in a Wyoming national park.
This week, police spokesperson Josh Taylor told CNN police in Laundrie’s home town of North Port, Florida had been surveilling Laundrie as best as they could legally before he vanished.
Police went to the Laundrie family’s North Port home September 11, though the 23-year-old was not seen and there was no opportunity to speak with him, Taylor said. As a result, authorities never spoke with Laundrie before he went missing, despite the fact they were keeping an eye on him.
An autopsy confirmed Petito’s cause of death to be homicide, though Laundrie has not been charged with her death. He is currently the subject of a federal arrest warrant for unauthorised use of another person’s debit card, which was used in the days after Petito last spoke with her family.
Taylor said police do not have Petito’s phone nor the device Laundrie had with him on the couple’s trip, and that neither phone was in Petito’s van when Laundrie drove it back to Florida.
With regards to the ongoing search, Taylor shut down rumours that investigators had found a campsite during search efforts at a Florida’s Carlton Reserve.
He commented, ‘Is it possible that they thought that there might be a campsite out there or something they may have seen from the air but when they got on the ground that’s not what it turned out to be? Sure, I think that’s a possibility. Bottom line, is that investigators are telling me that no campsite was found out there.’
The Laundrie family’s attorney, Steven Bertolino, told CNN Laundrie’s father, Chris, assisted in the search on Thursday, October 7, by showing police the trails and locations in the reserve where he and Laundrie have hiked and frequented.
Bertolino said no discoveries had been made and expressed how grateful the Laundrie family is to members of law enforcement who are searching for their son. According to the lawyer, Laundrie’s parents believe he is in the reserve.