Gabby Petito case: Divers called in Brian Laundrie search

Gabby Petito Case

TAMPA, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — Florida authorities continue to search for Brian Laundrie, who is wanted for questioning in the disappearance of 22-year-old Gabby Petito, his girlfriend, whose body was discovered in a Wyoming national park weeks after the couple set out on a cross-country trek.

Laundrie was last seen last week entering the 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve but was not reported missing until Friday. Investigators had focused intently on the area after Laundrie’s parents told police he may have gone there. North Port police are using drones and helicopters to survey the area.

NewsNation reporter Brian Entin reported that divers had been called to help in the search.

“At this time, this does not mean anything has been found,” police told Entin. “It’s part of the overall search process.”

Police also said, “Our law enforcement partners, they are motivated and they are hungry to find Brian Laundrie.”

North Port police Tuesday night clarified that despite reports, Laundrie had not been taken into custody.

“We have received a significant amount of requests tonight regarding a possible capture of Brian Laundrie,” North Port police said. “These reports are unfortunately false. Please rest assured that when Brian is found, we will be more than happy to let everyone know.”

Authorities said Monday they had no plans to conduct a “major search” of the reserve, saying they believed they had “exhausted all avenues in the search.” However, authorities searched the reserve again Tuesday.

Officers and FBI agents also executed a court-authorized search warrant at Laundrie’s residence, where he lived with his parents and Petito. No further details were provided. Images from the scene show police tape surrounding the home and agents entering with evidence boxes.

Petito vanished while on a cross-country road trip with Laundrie in a converted camper van.

The trip was well-documented on social media until it abruptly ceased allegedly somewhere in Wyoming. The couple documented most of their trip, which started in July, on a YouTube Vlog called “VAN LIFE”.  The last posts to both their Instagram accounts were from Grand Teton National Park.

The FBI said the body of Petito was found Sunday by law enforcement agents who spent the weekend searching campsites on the eastern border of Grand Teton National Park. Authorities confirmed Tuesday that the body found was Petito’s.

“I want to personally thank the press and news media for giving the Petito and Schmidt family time to grieve,” the Petito family lawyer said Tuesday. “We will be making a statement when Gabby is home. I will contact you to arrange a time and location.”

Petito and Laundrie were childhood sweethearts who met while growing up on New York’s Long Island. His parents later moved to North Port, about 35 miles south of Sarasota.

Click here for more coverage of the Gabby Petito case.

NewsNation affiliates WFLA, KTXL and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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