Federal arrest warrant issued for Gabby Petito’s fiancé: FBI officials

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP / WJW) — An arrest warrant has been issued for the fiancé of Gabby Petito as investigators continue searching for him Thursday evening.

According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation in Denver, the U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a federal arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie in connection to his activities following Petitio’s death.

According to reports from PIX11, the FBI urged people with information to come forward. Laundrie, without authorization, allegedly used a debit card and PIN to buy more than $1,000 worth of items between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, according to the indictment.

“While this arrest warrant allows law enforcement to arrest Mr. Laundrie, the FBI and our partners across the country continue to investigate the facts and circumstances of Ms. Petito’s homicide,” the FBI said.

The attorney for Laundrie’s family quickly noted the arrest warrant is not for Petito’s death.

“It is my understanding that the arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie is related to activities occurring after the death of Gabby Petito and not related to her actual demise,” the attorney said. “The FBI is focusing on locating Brian and when that occurs the specifics of the charges covered under the indictment will be addressed in the proper forum.”

Search teams found nothing of note Thursday at a Florida wilderness park where they have spent days looking for Laundrie. Petito is the young woman who authorities say was killed while on a cross-country trip with Laundrie.

Investigators say they will continue searching Friday.

Investigators say Brian Laundrie’s parents told them he had gone there after returning home without Petito on Sept. 1.

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 couple was pulled over while they were having an emotional fight. Petito was reported missing by her family a month later and is now the subject of a nationwide search. (The Moab Police Department via AP)

Thursday marks the fifth day of searching in the Carlton Reserve, with operations suspended Monday while the FBI searched the nearby Laundrie home for evidence.

The outdoors search includes thousands of acres of forbidding, swampy subtropical terrain replete with alligators, snakes, bobcats, coyotes, turkey, deer and many other wild creatures. There are more than 100 miles (160 kilometers) of hiking and horseback riding trails, plus numerous camping areas and rivers.

The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office brought in a diver unit called SURF, or Sheriff’s Underwater Recovery Force, to perform a more specialized search for evidence.

This combo of photos provided by FBI Denver via @FBIDenver shows missing person Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito. Petito, 22, vanished while on a cross-country trip in a converted camper van with her boyfriend. Authorities say a body discovered Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Wyoming, is believed to be Petito. (Courtesy of FBI Denver via AP)

“These highly-trained deputies work in the most difficult and challenging environments imaginable. They are on call 24/7/365,” the sheriff’s office said in a tweet.

Petito, 22, was reported missing Sept. 11 by her parents after she did not respond to calls and texts for several days while the couple visited parks in the West. Her body was discovered Sunday at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Teton County Coroner Brent Blue classified Petito’s death as a homicide — meaning her death was caused by another person — but did not disclose how she was killed pending further autopsy results.

With online sleuths and theories multiplying by the day, the FBI and police have been deluged with tips about possible Laundrie sightings. Taylor, the North Port spokesperson, said none have so far panned out. He also batted down rumors that Laundrie had been captured Tuesday.

“These reports are unfortunately false. Please rest assured that when Brian is found, we will be more than happy to let everyone know,” Taylor said in an email.

Petito and Laundrie grew up together in Long Island, New York, but moved in recent years to North Port, where his parents live. Their home, about 35 miles (55 kilometers) south of Sarasota, was searched by investigators earlier this week and a Ford Mustang driven by Laundrie’s mother was towed from the driveway. Authorities believe Laundrie drove that car to the Carlton Reserve before disappearing.

The couple documented online their trip in a white Ford Transit van converted into a camper, but got into a physical altercation Aug. 12 in Moab, Utah, that led to a police stop for a possible domestic violence case. Ultimately, police there decided to separate the quarreling couple for the night but no charges were filed and no serious injuries were reported.

The FBI is seeking information from anyone who may have seen them in the Grand Teton area as well as any other tips nationally.

“We join the FBI in asking for continued public assistance by sharing any information through the tip lines 1-800-CALL FBI or tips.fbi.gov,” Taylor said.

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