UPDATED 6:53 AM PT – Tuesday, October 12, 2021
The manhunt continues for fugitive Brian Laundrie, the only person of interest in the killing of 22-year old Gabby Petito. Laundrie remains on the run as Monday marked one month after Petito was first reported missing.
Crews are still searching in Florida’s Carlton Nature Reserve for Laundrie who is wanted on bank fraud charges. The Laundrie family is facing immense scrutiny by the public after claims surfaced that they may know more about their missing son’s whereabouts than they are letting on.
In the meantime, the Teton County Coroner is slated to hold a press conference Tuesday regarding Petito’s autopsy.
According to the family’s lawyer, Steven Bertolino, Laundrie’s father will being assisting authorities in the massive manhunt to find his son after a request by law enforcement. Bertolino said Laundrie’s parents spent hours searching for their son on September 13, four days before he was reported missing. His parents still believe he’s somewhere in Sarasota County, Florida.
The sister of the fugitive, Cassie Laundrie, said she’s unsure if her parents are involved with the disappearance of her brother. Protesters appeared outside her home in recent weeks, where she then revealed her frustrations in regards to the case.
“I’m in the boat where I’m getting ignored by my family and thrown under the bus by my family’s attorney,” she stated.
Cassie said she still remains unsure if her parents helped Laundrie escape authorities. However, she did confirm he flew home to Florida on or before August 17. Cassie also said she and her husband have cooperated with the FBI in the matter.
Her remarks came after a Florida man claimed there was no doubt in his mind that he had spoken with the fiancé of Petito. According to reports, 53-year-old Dennis Davis said he encountered the man believed to be Laundrie on a deserted road near the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina. Davis said the “lost and dazed man” rambled about a fight with his girlfriend, then asked for directions to California using only back roads.
After joining the manhunt for Laundrie, reality TV star Dog the Bounty Hunter, also known as Duane Chapman, said he’s contracted a private team and K9 unit to help with the search. In a video, Chapman said a crew of four people carrying backpacks and other supplies left on boats with three K9’s to search for Laundrie at Egmont Key Island off the coast of Florida. However, Chapman and his search team found no conclusive evidence that Laundrie was on the island.
— Duane Dog Chapman (@DogBountyHunter) October 3, 2021
The attorney for the Laundrie family confirmed the suspect and his parents went camping together nearly a week after he returned home without Petito. A public records request revealed Laundrie’s mother checked in at Fort de Soto Park in early September, which lies about 75 miles from the family’s home in North Port, Florida.
Dog the Bounty Hunter previously claimed he had received a tip that said the family had left the campground without him. The Laundrie attorney refuted the claim by saying all three left the park together.
“We’re just hoping that through our tragedy with losing Gabby that, in the future, that some good can come out of it, that we can help other people that may be in a similar situation, reach out to these other organizations that do similar things and find out what’s missing,” expressed Petito’s stepfather Jim Schmidt. “What can we do to fill that void? What can we do to help people?”
Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, said they wanted his daughter’s name to remembered for something positive and not just for this tragedy. He said noted, “we can’t let her name be taken in vain.”
The victims body was found in a Wyoming national park on September 19, which sparked a massive manhunt to find her 23-year-old fiancé. Laundrie turned up without her on September 1, despite the couple traveling in a cross-country trip together. Meantime, the Teton County Coroner is slated to hold a press conference Tuesday regarding Petito’s autopsy.
Authorities are now offering up to $30,000 in rewards for tips on Laundrie’s whereabouts as the search continues. Laundrie is the only person of interest in Petito’s murder.