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Gabby Petito case: Search for Brian Laundrie continues

Published: Oct. 9, 2021 at 3:04 PM EDT
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NORTH PORT, Fla. (CNN) - Nearly a month of searching for Brian Laundrie, and still police in Florida say there are no signs of the missing man.

The search is centered at the Carlton Nature Reserve near his home in North Port, where Laundrie’s parents believe he went before disappearing.

As the search for Gabby Petito’s fiancé approaches its fourth week, no police activity was visible Friday at the 25,000-acre nature reserve.

New details emerged about the period after Laundrie returned home from a cross-country trip in Petito’s white van, without Petito, on Sept. 1 and before he left his parents’ home Sept. 13.

Police have since said they were watching him before he left but were limited in what they could do because he had not been charged with a crime.

“If you talk to a lot of people who have experience in law enforcement, I mean – the guy goes for a walk in the Carlton Reserve, he’s not wanted for a crime, I mean – what are we supposed to do?” said Josh Taylor, public information officer. “Go tree to tree? Tree to tree, following him back through the woods? I mean, you know, it just wasn’t there with the information we had in this case.”

Petito’s remains were found in Wyoming on Sept. 19, with the coroner ruling it a homicide.

Police said they never spoke with Laundrie before he left the home he and Petito shared with his parents.

They did not see or speak with him during their visit Sept. 11, the day Petito’s parents reported her missing.

Authorities visited the home again Sept. 17, when Laundrie’s parents reported him missing, but they refused to answer questions about Petito’s whereabouts - behavior police described as “odd.”

Police also confirmed they do not have the cellphones Laundrie or Petito used during their trip.

CNN previously reported Laundrie bought a new phone from an AT&T store in North Port on Sept. 4 and that he left it behind Sept. 13.

Laundrie has not been charged in connection with Petito’s death, but he is suspected of using a debit card her family says belonged to her to access over $1,000 after her death.

A federal warrant has been issued for his arrest.

In an interview with Fox News that aired Thursday, Petito’s family pleaded with Laundrie to turn himself in.

“People want to know how I am feeling. And that’s - I am feeling upset,” said Nichole Schmidt, Petito’s mother. “Turn yourself in. That’s all I wanted. But it’s just getting more and more frustrating as days go on. I don’t know what is taking so long.”

His family said they are hopeful Laundrie is still alive.

Petito’s family calls Laundrie the missing piece of the puzzle. They believe he has all the answers to what happened.

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