‘Scaled back and targeted’ search for Brian Laundrie in Sarasota County

Sarasota County

You can find the latest on the investigation involving Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie hereDownload the WFLA app for breaking news push alerts and sign up for breaking news email alerts.

NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) — The FBI is now leading the search for Brian Laundrie, the missing fiancé of Gabby Petito. A reward for information leading to his whereabouts is up to $30,000.

Laundrie was last seen by his family on Sept. 14.  His family told police he went to the Carlton Reserve, a nearly 25,000-acre preserve in Sarasota County. Multiple agencies have spent the past week scouring the area for signs of Laundrie.

On Monday, North Port police spokesman Josh Taylor said the search for Laundrie will be “scaled back and targeted based on intelligence.”

“Hopefully, water will lower in areas hard to currently access,” Taylor said in a statement to News Channel 8. “NPPD will continue to assist based on their [the FBI’s] direction.”

A neighbor near the search site Monday said she support police efforts.

“I feel really bad for the police who are working so very hard,” said April Tomcik. “It’s brutal. It’s brutal and scary, and I really really for the people who are searching and I believe it’s not in vain. They know more they can tell us and that’s ok.”

Others who spoke with News Channel 8 said they worried the efforts were waste of resources.

“I think it’s kind of a waste of time. I really think he’s gone out of the area,” said William Bainbridge.

Laundrie is a person of interest in his fiancée’s disappearance and death, which has been ruled a homicide.

Petito’s remains were found last Sunday near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.  She was laid to rest at a funeral service in New York on Sunday.

The FBI visited Laundrie’s family’s home in North Port on Sunday and took personal items belonging to Laundrie to use for DNA matching, the family’s attorney said. Video shows agents speaking to someone at the home for about three minutes.

“Dog the Bounty Hunter,” also visited the Laundrie’s home on Saturday.

The reality TV personality, whose real name is Duane Chapman, knocked on the front door around 4:30 p.m.. No one answered.

When asked why he was there, Chapman told a NewsNation reporter “come on, you know,” and implored the public to share tips by calling 833-TELL-DOG.

The FBI has set up a national hotline to receive tips about Petito’s disappearance. Those with information are being asked to call 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324). 

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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