NORTH PORT, FL – There are daily twists and turns as the search for Brian Laundrie, 23, a person of interest in the death of his fiancee, Gabby Petito, continues.
As information about his location floods in from across the country and from North America, new body camera footage of the couple speaking to Utah police shows Petito telling them that Laundrie grabbed his face during a fight. And in Florida, Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd has criticized law enforcement’s handling of the case so far.
The couple were traveling across the western United States in Petito’s converted campervan this summer when she disappeared. Her family on Long Island last heard from her in late August and her body was found weeks later on September 19 near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. His death was ruled a homicide, although no cause of death was disclosed.
Laundrie returned to the family home in North Port, Florida – where Petito also lived – after their trip alone in his van on September 1. A week and a half later, her family reported her missing to Suffolk County Police on September 11. Her fiance was later reported missing by her parents on September 17, who said they had not seen her since September 14. Authorities have since been looking for him and a federal arrest warrant has been issued for him in connection with the unauthorized use of an anonymous person’s debit card.
It has been widely reported that North Port Police attended Laundrie’s home the night Petito’s family reported him missing in New York City to retrieve his van. At the time, the family refused to speak to investigators, asking them to contact their lawyer instead.
Now, it is reported that five calls involving the family’s home were made to local police on September 10 and 11 and that police attended their home the day before Petito’s disappearance, according to ABC 7 NY.
North Port Police answered home twice for “public service calls” on Sept. 10 – at 4:00 p.m., then again at about 6:30 p.m. Police marked both calls as “problem resolved,” according to reports.
They were called home on September 11, the day Petito was officially reported missing. While authorities characterized the first two calls as “issue resolved” and “no police action required” respectively, the third was more involved – “agency assistance” – and resulted in a police report, a stated ABC.
New Utah Combat Body Camera Images
New police body camera footage of a domestic incident involving Petito and Laundrie in Utah provides new insight into their fight.
In the recently released 52-minute video, which was recorded by Moab Police Officer Eric Pratt’s body camera during the August 12 incident, Petito said Laundrie became physical with her during a argument, People reported.
As she noted that she first hit her fiance, she told police he grabbed her face, cutting off his cheek. She tried to downplay the incident, however, asking to pay a ticket rather than bringing charges against Laundrie.
No charges have been filed and no tickets issued, but the couple have been asked to go their separate ways for the night. The police helped the laundry find a hotel for the night.
Pratt also included conflicting information about the police report of the incident, which police called “disorderly conduct,” according to People. The officer wrote that a witness reported seeing a man punching a woman before questioning Laundrie and Petito. Later in the report, he wrote that “no one reported that the male had hit the female”.
Sheriff Grady Judd criticizes the handling of the case
Polk County Sheriff Grady Judd, who was not involved in the investigation into Petito’s death or the search for Laundrie, criticized the way law enforcement handled the case during the ‘a press conference Thursday on an investigation into child pornography in his county, WFLA reported.
“I can tell you that at this sheriff’s office, when he showed up with his car and it was nowhere to be found, we I never would have let it get out of our custody That day. Other than that, I don’t know where their investigation is, “he said.
Judd also criticized the Moab Police Department’s handling of the August 12 incident in Utah.
“I can tell you that under Florida law when she was originally a victim of domestic violence he would have been arrested,” he said.
Tips on the whereabouts of the laundry keep pouring in
The manhunt for the laundry has led to tips pouring in from across the country – and the world. Authorities, along with Duane Chapman, the reality TV star known as Dog the Bounty Hunter, and John Walsh of “America’s Most Wanted,” examined reported sightings from Laundrie, Alabama, north Florida. , Canada, Mexico, Bahamas and other locations.
Much of the research by the FBI, North Port Police, and law enforcement partners initially focused on the Carlton Reservation in Sarasota County. Laundrie’s parents said this was where their son was heading for the hike when they last saw him on September 14.
Various methods were used to comb the 25,000-acre marshy nature reserve, including K-9 dogs, ATVs, drones, helicopters, dive crews and airboats; however, the FBI, which has taken over the investigation on the reserve, has reduced the search in this area.
In recent days, Chapman has focused his research on southern Pinellas County after confirming that Laundrie and his parents have booked a campsite at Fort De Soto Park in Tierra Verde, just south of St. Petersburg, from September 6 to 8. . The historic park is approximately 75 miles north of their North Port home.
The bounty hunter searched Egmont Key and Shell Key – isolated islands in southern Pinellas County, just southwest of Fort De Soto Park and only accessible by boat – with boat crews, ground crews and K-9 search and rescue dogs.
During his search, Chapman found a cool campsite and Monster Energy drinks in the woods of Shell Key, Fox News reported.
Laundrie’s search has also refocused on the Appalachian Trail, which some believe may be where it has headed since its disappearance. Chapman and Walsh both said they received a lot of advice leading them in this direction.
Laundrie, an experienced outdoor enthusiast, lived on the Appalachian Trail for three months, and he and Petito spent time there together in March. The 2,180 mile trail stretches from Georgia to Maine.
Chapman’s daughter Lyssa Chapman tweeted on Sunday that their team were looking for an experienced hiker or survivalist in North Carolina to help with the search.
This week, authorities in North Carolina searched for tips Laundrie might be hiding along the trail there.
Watauga and Avery County Sheriff’s Offices said they received many leads about Laundrie possibly hiding along the North Carolina portion of the trail and had contact with the FBI, according to the WSOC.
“If there is something legitimate we will check it. And if there is anything more then the FBI will be contacted – but not on every call,” Watauga County Sheriff Len Hagaman said. .
There were also several posts on a Facebook group called Appalachian Classifieds about laundry sightings. in the Boone, North Carolina area, reported the Watauga Democrat.
New details on the Laundrie family camping trip
After joining the search for Laundrie, Chapman was told he was camping with his parents at Fort De Soto Park in Pinellas County about a week before his disappearance.
Although his informants said the Laundrie family made two trips to the historic park, first staying there September 1-3 and then returning September 6-8, records provided by Pinellas County indicated that they had only been there once.
Records show that Laundrie’s mother Roberta Laundrie made a reservation on September 3, reserving waterfront site 001 from September 6 to 8 – just days after Petito disappeared. The campsite registration report for September 6 shows that Roberta Laundrie signed that day.
Following Chapman’s example, Brian Laundrie’s parents left the park without their son.
Steven Bertolino, the family’s lawyer, said on Tuesday that Laundrie camped on the site with his parents from September 6 to 7 and insisted they leave the park together, according to the WFLA.
Chapman claims that CCTV footage from Fort De Soto Park shows Laundrie’s parents leaving the park alone. The FBI is review the images as part of its laundry research, Fox 5 Atlanta reported.
Additional details have recently emerged about this camping trip. Family attorney Steven Bertolino said Laundrie’s sister Cassie joined her family at Fort De Soto Park on September 6, according to the WFLA.
This contradicts statements she has made before when she was interviewed on ABC’s “Good Morning America” on September 17th. She said she had not seen her brother since returning to Florida.
“I couldn’t talk to him. I wish I could talk to him,” she said during the interview. “I have cooperated in any way I can. I would like to have information, or give more.”
Bertolino explained the discrepancy, saying ABC’s question about it was either “misinterpreted by Cassie or misstated by the investigator,” according to reports.
It was also reported by Fox 13 that on August 24 – about a week before her son returned to Florida and weeks before Petito went missing – Brian’s mother initially made a reservation for two people to camp at the Fort De Soto park from September 1st. -3.
She canceled this reservation on August 31 and made a new one on September 3, this time for three people, to camp at the park September 6-8.
Chapman said his team looked at everything they found on Egmont Key and Shell Key before deciding where the search would take them next.