Gabby Petito: Search for Brian Laundrie now focused around campground

Gabby Petito Case

NORTH PORT, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — The search for Gabby Petito’s missing boyfriend intensified Wednesday as the focus shifted to what Brian Laundrie did in the days after he returned to Florida without her.

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. Laundrie returned to Florida without Petito on Sept. 1.

Petito, 22, was reported missing Sept. 11 by her parents after she did not respond to calls and texts for several days. Her body was discovered days later at Grand Teton National Park.

A public records request from Pinellas County in Florida revealed that Brian Laundrie’s mother Roberta Laundrie checked into a campground at Ft. De Soto Park in the days between Laundrie arriving home and Petito being reported missing. The campground is about 75 miles away from the Laundrie family home in North Port, Florida.

The record of registered campers shows Roberta Laundrie checked into “Site 001-Waterfront” between Sept. 6 and Sept. 8.

NewsNation also confirmed that the FBI has surveillance video from the campground. According to the Laundrie family attorney, Steven Bertolino, during that time the family purchased a new phone for Brian Laundrie. He later left the phone at home and the FBI is now in possession of it.

Laundrie’s parents say they last saw him Sept. 14 as he headed for a hike at the 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve in Florida, though they did not report him missing until a few days later.  Investigators had focused intently on the area after Laundrie’s parents told police he may have gone there. The FBI was still searching the reserve Wednesday morning, Entin reported.

According to NewsNation reporter Brian Entin, one search Wednesday was done at the Carlton Reserve, with police and search teams focusing on areas of water. The other was Fort De Soto Campground in Pinellas County, Florida by Duane Chapman — known as Dog the Bounty Hunter.

Workers at the campsite told NewsNation they were not allowed to comment on the Laundrie family.

Bertolino sent this text message to NewsNationNow.com on Monday evening, denying the family was involved with Laundrie’s disappearance:

“Chris and Roberta Laundrie do not know where Brian is. They are concerned about Brian and hope the FBI can locate him. The speculation by the public and some in the press that the parents assisted Brian in leaving the family home or in avoiding arrest on a warrant that was issued after Brian had already been missing for several days is just wrong.”

STEVEN BERTOLINO

The FBI issued an arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie last week. Brian Laundrie is wanted for “use of unauthorized access device” related to his activities following Petito’s death. The FBI says Brian Laundrie used a debit card and a PIN to access two bank accounts Aug. 30 and Sept. 1.

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