FBI and police find ‘articles’ belonging to Brian Laundrie in 25,000-acre nature reserve
Articles belonging to wanted fugitive Brian Laundrie were found in Florida‘s Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park early Wednesday morning.
Laundrie family lawyer, Steven Bertolino, confirmed the discovery to DailyMail.com and claims officers are now conducting a thorough search of park for the missing 23-year-old.
Photographs shared by Fox News show his parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, joined by law enforcement, along a trail.
An officer is holding what appears to be a plastic camping bag.
Chris and Roberta alerted investigators on Tuesday night that they intended to search for Laundrie on Wednesday and authorities agreed to meet them at the reserve.
‘After a brief search off a trail that Brian frequented some articles belonging to Brian were found,’ Bertolino said. ‘As of now law enforcement is conducting a more thorough investigation of that area.’
The FBI and North Port Police Department have closed the 25,000-acre park, which just reopened to the public on Tuesday after being closed to the public for nearly a month due to the ongoing search for Laundrie.
Articles belonging to wanted fugitive Brian Laundrie were found in Florida ‘s Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park early Wednesday morning
Chris and Roberta Laundrie (pictured) alerted investigators on Tuesday night that they intended to search Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park for their son on Wednesday morning. The FBI and North Port Police Department agreed to meet them at the park
The FBI and North Port Police Department have closed the 25,000-acre park, which just reopened to the public on Tuesday after being closed to the public for nearly a month due to the ongoing search for Laundrie
Bertolino says officers now ‘conducting a more thorough investigation of the area’
The FBI and North Port Police Department have found articles belonging to wanted fugitive Brian Laundrie (pictured) in Florida’s Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park early Wednesday morning
Federal investigators issued an arrest warrant for Laundrie for ‘use of unauthorized access device’ last month after alleging he used a Capitol One Bank debit card that wasn’t his. He is also the sole person of interest in the homicide of his fiancée, Gabby Petito.
The FBI’s discovery comes just one day after internet sleuths claimed they had proof that wanted Laundrie was still alive.
Minnesota-based blogger Shaynah Dodge, who has been closely monitoring the investigation into Gabby Petito‘s homicide, claims Laundrie’s Pinterest account has followed a new account in the past three weeks.
Laundrie has been on the run from police since fleeing his parents’ Florida home more than a month ago, after he returned from a vacation with his girlfriend Gabby Petito, alone. Petito’s body was later discovered. She was murdered by strangulation.
‘Three weeks ago I posted in my stories about Brian’s Pinterest account. In my screengrab from three weeks ago he followed 145 people,’ Dodge posted to her Instagram stories.
‘Tonight I was scrolling some of his pins on his account and I noticed this … He now follows 146 people. That’s weird right?’
Similarly, Twitter user Ian Scott claimed Monday morning that Laundrie’s email account was active last Friday.
‘When I first discovered #BrianLaundrie’s email account, I posted that there was activity using it on September 18th,’ he wrote. ‘Now the Latest Update is showing activity for October 15th!’
The alleged discoveries come about a week after police said there was no evidence suggesting if Laundrie – who disappeared over a month ago – was dead or not.
Blogger Shaynah Dodge (pictured) claims Laundrie’s Pinterest account followed an additional user sometime in the last three weeks
Dodge presented her more than 77,000 followers with the alleged evidence on Monday night, 7News reported.
She posted a screenshot of what she believes to Laundrie’s Pinterest account that was reportedly taken three weeks ago. The account followed 145 users.
In another post, she shared a grab she claims to have taken Monday that shows his alleged account following 146 users.
‘Like of course his follow count went up as people have flocked to his pages but how did who he follows go up within the past three weeks?’ she asked her followers.
‘Can bot pages make you follow them?’
She continued: ‘Someone could have had a private page and changed their settings? Not sure, but seriously, I cannot stand this guy on the run. I’m so fed up with this. Everything in this case feels so cryptic.’
The blogger also argued that she knew the account belonged to Laundrie because it had shared boards with Petito and his mother.
When questioned about Dodge’s allegations, Pinterest told DailyMail.com: ‘We don’t share details related to accounts.’
Dodge’s allegations followed those of Scott who, earlier that day, claimed that Laundrie had been using the internet.
Dodge, via her Instagram stories, posted a screenshot of what she believes to Laundrie’s Pinterest account that was reportedly taken three weeks ago. The account followed 145 users
Now, the account the Dodge alleges is Laundrie’s follows 146 users on Pinterest
Although he did not present his followers with evidence, Scott argued that someone had accessed Laundrie’s Gmail account.
‘Either he’s active, or his account has being hacked, or feds are checking the account,’ he tweeted.
Scott also explained that he is using an open source intelligence tool called EPIEOS to monitor Laundrie’s digital activity.
‘Just to clear something up that some may not understand regarding #BrianLaundrie’s Gmail. The tool being used to observe his digital activity, is EPIEOS. The tool enables us to see what apps/services Laundrie has linked to them,’ he wrote.
‘So to be clear, we’re not talking about him accessing his email account, to check emails. Simply that there’s some activity linked to apps or services linked to that Gmail address. Each time that happens, there’s a time stamp and date.’
Scott argued that he first saw activity tied to Laundrie’s accounts on September 18 at 1am. He claims there was activity again on October 16 at 4.56pm.
‘The FBI can also see this,’ he said. ‘If they’re looking.’
Twitter user Ian Scott claimed Monday morning that Laundrie’s email account was active last Friday
The self-proclaimed intelligence expert also claimed to have uncovered – with the help of podcaster Michael Collins – a phone number belonging to Laundrie.
‘This morning (October 19th) I got a message from @2thecurve. He’s found parts of another telephone number belonging #BrianLaundrie,’ Scott tweeted Tuesday.
‘This could help in closing in on his *potential* location. I’m digging in to find the missing parts. The number may link directly to Laundrie, or even to one of his allies.’
Scott reported that Laundrie has a new mobile number, registered with an area code beginning in 9, and is using an Alcatel cellphone.
‘The number is connected to a PayPal account,’ he alleged. ‘However I will not publish public information here. The purpose of what we’re doing is trying to establish that there is a digital footprint, which takes many forms.’
Authorities have not confirmed the validity of either sleuth’s claims.
Likewise, Google – owner of Gmail – did not immediately respond to DailyMail.com’s request for comment.
Brian Laundrie (left) is the sole person of interest in the homicide of Gabby Petito (right)
The pair had been travelling on a cross-country trip together since July 2, when they left New York. Petito was reported missing on September 11. Laundrie’s parents reported him missing on September 17, two days after he was named a person of interest in Petito’s case
Laundrie, who is the sole person of interest in Petito’s homicide, was reported missing by his parents on September 17 after claiming they last saw him three days prior. His whereabouts have been unknown ever since.
Investigators and TV personalities like Duane Chapman – known as Dog the Bounty Hunter – and longtime ‘America’s Most Wanted’ host John Walsh have been searching for the fugitive.
There have been no signs of Laundrie, 23, at the Carlton Reserve in Florida, the area his parents cite as the last place he was seen.
Last week, North Port police noted there was ‘nothing to suggest’ whether Laundrie was dead or alive.
Officials claimed no one had seen him in the reserve and search teams didn’t find any physical evidence of his presence in the area.
Investigators have chased down leads in multiple states since Laundrie was last seen in September, but to date there has not been a confirmed sighting of him.
Investigators have chased down leads in multiple states since Laundrie (pictured with Petito on his left) was last seen in September, but to date there has not been a confirmed sighting of him
Earlier this month, Severin Beckwith (left) – a Brian Laundrie (right) lookalike – was detained at a lodge of the Appalachian Trail after tipsters reported his presence to authorities
Timeline of Gabby Petito case
- July 1: Gabby Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie left Blue Point, New York for a cross-country road trip
- August 12: Police in Moab, Utah respond to a domestic incident involving the couple
- Aug. 17: Laundrie allegedly flies back to Florida to ‘clear out a storage unit’
- Aug. 21: Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, has his last FaceTime video call with his daughter who was in Salt Lake City, Utah
- Aug. 23: Laundrie flies back to Utah to ‘rejoin Gabby’ on their trip
- Aug. 24: Petito is last seen at a hotel in Salt Lake City with Laundrie
- Aug. 25: Petito makes final call to her mother, Nichole Schmidt, saying she was in Grand Teton National Park
- Aug. 25 or 26: The couple chats with the owner of a shop called ‘Rustic Row’ in Victor, Utah for about 20 minutes
- Aug. 27: Video of Petito’s van was taken by blogger Jenn Bethune, of Red White & Bethune, around 6.30 pm at the Spread Creek Campground; Witnesses say they saw a ‘commotion’ with the couple at Merry Piglets Tex-mex restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming – if accurate, this appears to be the last known sighting of Petito
- Aug. 29: The day that Wisconsin TikToker Miranda Baker claimed that she and her boyfriend were approached by Laundrie at Grand Teton National Park and asked them for a ride at 5.30pm; Schmidt says she is not entertaining this claim and believes it possibly factual
- Aug. 30: Schmidt receives the last text from Petito: ‘No service in Yosemite’
- Sept. 1: Laundrie returns to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida in a van without Petito
- Sept. 6-7: Laundrie and his parents visit Fort De Soto campsite in Florida
- Sept. 11: Schmidt reports Petito missing to authorities in New York; Petito and Laundrie’s van was impounded by police in Florida that same day
- Sept. 12: Grand Teton National Park rangers search for Petito
- Sept. 13: Laundrie’s lawyer says on October 5 that his parents now ‘believe’ this was the day they last saw him heading for a hike
- Sept. 14: Laundrie issues a statement about Petito’s disappearance through his lawyer; Laundrie’s parents claim on September 17 that Laundrie left his parents’ home for a hike this day and they hadn’t seen from him since
- Sept. 15: Laundrie is officially named a person of interest in Petito’s case
- Sept. 17: Laundrie family attorney confirms his whereabouts are unknown
- Sept. 18: North Port police and the FBI start searching the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County for missing Brian Laundrie
- Sept. 19: Bethune realizes she has video of Petito’s van around 12am and submits the FBI with the footage 10 minutes later; Officials announce a body was found near Grand Teton National Park that matched Petito’s description in the afternoon
- Sept. 21: Coroner confirms remains found in Grand Tetons belong to Petito. Her death is ruled a homicide but her cause of death is still under invesetigation
- Sept. 20 – 22: FBI and North Port police continue search for Laundrie in Carton Reserve
- Sept. 22: Neighbors say they saw the Laudrie family pack up their detached camper on the day Gabby was reported missing. DailyMail.com photos show the camper was back in the driveway two days later, on September 13
- Sept. 23: FBI issues an arrest warrant for Laundrie for ‘use of unauthorized access device’ for fraudulently using a Capitol One Bank debit card that was not his between August 30 and September 1 to spend $1,000; A probe is launched into the police handling of the Utah police incident on Aug. 12; Laundrie’s parents visit their attorney in Orlando
- Sept. 25: Dog the Bounty Hunter joins the search for Laundrie
- Sept. 26: A funeral is held for Petito in Holbrook, New York, and her family launch a charity to help parents find missing children
- Sept. 27: Manhunt for Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve is scaled back after 10 day search doesn’t find him. Dog the Bounty Hunter says Laundrie and his parents stayed at Fort De Soto Park from September 1-3 and September 6-8 – and that on the latter visit only the parents left
- Sept. 28: Laundrie’s mom is accused of using a burner phone to contact her son Sept. 29: Documents reveal Laundrie’s mom canceled a reservation for the Fort De Soto Park campsite for two from September 1 to 3 and booked for three from September 6 to 8; FBI seizes surveillance footage from site; FBI investigates lead Laundrie bought a burner phone on September 14; Dog the Bounty Hunter searches the area near Fort De Soto finding a recently drunk can of Monster Energy at a makeshift campsite deep in the woods
- Sept. 30: Bodycam footage from a second officer at the August 12 incident is released showing a distressed Petito admitting Laundrie hit her; FBI agents collect more evidence from the Laundrie home
- Oct. 1: It emerges Laundrie’s sister had contact with him after she said she did
- Oct. 2: A hiker along the Appalachian Trail claims to have seen Laundrie near the border of Tennessee and North Carolina
- Oct. 3: Investigators searched the area on the Appalachian trail for any signs that Laundrie had been there
- Oct. 4: Laundrie’s sister told protestors outside her home that her family has been ignoring her after they rebuked her story and that she does not know where her brother is
- Oct 5: Laundrie’s sister appeared on Good Morning America to say she would turn her brother in if she knew where he is; The Laundrie attorney says his parents now ‘believe’ he went on the run one day earlier than they first claimed (September 13 not 14) meaning he had a four-day headstart before they reported him missing to authorities; The attorney also says Laundrie flew from Utah to Florida on Aug. 17 without Petito to clear out a storage unit then returned on Aug. 23; A hiker reports a sighting of a person he believed to be Laundrie along the Appalachian Trail near the Tennessee border
- Oct 6: Petito’s parents and step-parents appear together on Dr. Phil to discuss their daughter’s death. Her family paints a vivid picture of the scene where her body was found and encourages Laundrie to turn himself in; The Laundrie family lawyer says his father Christopher went to look for him on the night of Sept. 13 when he didn’t return from the park
- Oct. 7: Laundrie’s father Christopher joins FBI agents on the search for his son at the Carlton Reserve but the search brings up no clues; FBI says it is also investigating 11 alleged sightings of Laundrie along the Appalachian Trail near the North Carolina-Tennessee border; investigators confirmed neither Petito or Laundrie’s phones were found in the couple’s campervan
- Oct. 8: North Port Police spokesperson says there is a ‘lot of oddness’ with Laundrie’s parents handling of the situation and that ‘a lot of things that didn’t make sense’ about their version of events
- Oct. 12: Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue announces autopsy findings which show Petito died by strangulation; No specific date of death was given – only that she was dead 3-4 weeks before her body was found
- Oct. 16: Petito’s parents are seen collecting her ashes from the Valley Mortuary in Jackson, Wyoming
Earlier this month, Severin Beckwith – a Laundrie lookalike – was detained at a lodge of the Appalachian Trail after tipsters reported his presence to authorities.
Speaking with DailyMail.com on Monday, Graham County Sheriff Jerry Crisp said his department, along with the US Marshals Service, responded to the Lodge at Fontana Village Resort after receiving a photograph of Beckwith, whom it was presumed could be Laundrie.
Crisp says they questioned Beckwith, examined his hands in search of Laundrie’s tattoo and took his prints on a remote fingerprint scanner to confirm his identity.
After determining he wasn’t the wanted fugitive, Beckwith was released.
Hiker Dennis Davis also claimed to have seen Laundrie along the Appalachian Trail. He said he was ‘99.9 percent’ certain he spotted the fugitive.
‘There is no doubt in my mind I spoke to Brian Laundrie — none whatsoever,’ Davis stated.
‘He was talking wild. He said that his girlfriend loved him and he had to go out to California to see her, and he was asking me how to get to California.’
Meanwhile, Petito’s grief-stricken mother said she wants ‘coward’ Laundrie to spend the rest of his life ‘in a cell’.
Nichole Schmidt made the comments during an interview with 60 Minutes Australia that aired on Sunday, as she and her husband Jim returned to their home in Long Island after retrieving her daughter’s ashes in Wyoming.
Petito, 22, was found dead in Wyoming near the truck where she and Laundrie were using to tour the country. He remains on the run with a federal warrant out for his arrest, presumably hiding in a Florida reserve, awaiting arrest for her murder.
Schmidt said she and her husband, Jim, thought Petito would be safe with Laundrie when they embarked on the trip. Now, she sees him as a cold-blooded killer who is being protected by his parents, who still refuse to talk to them.
‘Silence speaks volumes. I believe they know most of the information. I would love to just face to face ask, ‘Why are you doing this? Just tell me the truth.’
‘He’s a coward. I don’t want to say he’s insane because he went home, he’s hiding, he used her credit card. That’s not somebody who’s gone crazy.
‘He knows what he is doing, he knew what he was doing. I just want to get him in a cell for the rest of his life.’
Jim added: ‘We want vengeance. And justice.’
Petito was found eight days after her family reported her missing and 22 days after the last reported sighting of her alive on August 27.
An autopsy revealed last week that Petito had been strangled. Her mother said she hopes she did not suffer or feel ‘any pain.’
‘I hope she didn’t suffer and that she wasn’t in any pain. That she was in a place she wanted to be, looking at the beautiful mountains. This was evil. She was taken at somebody else’s hand. It’s not fair.’
Due to Wyoming law, the coroner did not provide additional details about the autopsy’s findings, including if her body was buried, whether any drugs were found in her system and whether she was killed in the same spot her body was found.
The coroner did, however, add that DNA samples had been taken by law enforcement as the investigation into her murder and who was responsible continues.
Authorities have not named a suspect in her murder but it is possible they may already have named one behind closed doors, a former FBI agent told WPBF 25.
‘That piece of information, I would bet, has gone into grand jury – there is now a sealed indictment for the apprehension for the person who is responsible for the death of Gabby Petito,’ former FBI agent Stuart Kaplan said.
‘This can of course include him [Brian Laundrie] as being the attacker or responsible person for causing Gabby Petito’s death or it could exclude him.’
He believes it is unlikely the suspect’s name will be released until after an arrest is made.
State Attorney Dave Aronberg in Palm Beach County, Florida, said Laundrie’s DNA might not appear on the samples found on Petito’s body due to the time her body spent exposed to the elements, but other evidence such as cell phone records could still be used against him.
Laundrie returned from their trip alone on September 1 and refused to say what became of his partner.
Petito’s family contacted Laundrie and his family but no one replied.
On September 11, Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, reported her daughter missing. She later found out that Laundrie had returned home to Florida without her.
Laundrie – the only person of interest in the case – is now missing, and police aren’t sure whether he’s hiding or dead.
His parents reported him missing after September 17, claiming he failed to return home from a hike.
They steered investigators toward the alligator-infested, 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve in Sarasota, Florida.
Investigators spent more than $1 million scouring the area for Laundrie but didn’t find him.
The FBI issued an arrest warrant for Laundrie last month after alleging he used a Capitol One Bank debit card that wasn’t his.
The agency said Laundrie is wanted for ‘use of unauthorized access device’ related to his activities between August 30 and September 1, following Petito’s death, and that he used the card to obtain items totaling $1,000 or more.
Over the weekend, DailyMail.com exclusively obtained pictures of the Schmidts leaving the Jackson mortuary where Petito’s remains were being held, along with her father, Joseph Petito.
Faces etched with pain, the family made their way out of the Valley Mortuary in Jackson, Wyoming, on Saturday morning clutching an urn containing the ashes of the 22-year-old van life blogger – the final stop on a whirlwind trip that included visits to the last places Petito went to before she was murdered and a meeting with detectives working on the case.
Mom Nichole appeared visibly upset as they left the funeral home, while black-clad father Joe held the white box containing Petito’s body to his chest.
The remains of blonde Petito will now be taken home to Long Island, New York, for burial.
Earlier this week, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue announced the results of Petito’s autopsy: she had been manually strangled before being dumped close to a remote campsite in Grand Teton National Park.
Petito’s father Joe and his wife Tara and her mother Nichole and husband Jim have been in Jackson since Wednesday afternoon and spent Thursday morning at the campsite where she was found.
They were escorted to the Spread Creek campsite, which is 27 miles out of town, by officers from the Teton County Sheriff’s Office.
The remote site where the blogger’s body was discovered on September 19 has become a shrine to Petito, complete with a stone cross dotted with flowers.
Afterward, the family spent the afternoon at the sheriff’s office being briefed by detectives working on the case.
On Friday, they met with rescuers from the Teton County Search and Rescue Team, which took part in the hunt for Petito’s body and visited Jenny Lake where her van was seen parked up shortly before she vanished.
Gabby’s father Joseph Petito clutches the ashes of his murdered daughter, whose remains were found at a nearby campsite on September 19
Gabby’s family retrieved the white boxes containing her ashes from the Valley Mortuary in Jackson, Wyoming on Saturday
Jim and Nichole stop to look at Elk grazing with their attorney Richard Stafford. It is near where Gabby’s body was found
A memorial of stones arranged in a cross pattern at the Spread Creek Dispersed Campsite east of the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on September 20 – where Petito’s body was found one day earlier
The Laundrie family lawyer, Anthony Bertolino, gave a statement attempting to express sympathy to Petito’s family on Thursday after her cause of death was revealed.
‘Gabby Petito’s death at such a young age is a tragedy,’ he wrote.
‘While Brian Laundrie is currently charged with the unauthorized use of a debit card belonging to Gabby, Brian is only considered a person of interest in relation to Gabby Petito’s demise.
‘At this time Brian is still missing and when he is located we will address the pending fraud charge against him.’
Petito’s mother texted a reported a curt, blunt response.
‘His words are garbage. Keep talking,’ she wrote to a reporter from WFLA in Florida.