Feds execute search warrant at residence of Gabby Petito’s fiance
FBI agents have served and are executing a search warrant at the Florida home of Brian Laundrie, who last week was named a person of interest in the disappearance of his fiancee, Gabby Petito.
A body, believed to be Petito’s, was located on Sunday in Wyoming.
“The #FBI is executing a court-authorized search warrant today at the Laundrie residence in North Port, FL relevant to the Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Petito investigation,” the FBI’s Tampa field office tweeted on Monday. “No further details can be provided since this is an active and ongoing investigation.”
Separately, authorities with the North Port Police Department are scouring the nearby Carlton Reserve, a 25,000-acre wildlife refuge, for Laundrie, whose parents reported on Friday they had not seen him since he went to the area to hike on Tuesday. Authorities have been combing over the reserve with the help of search dogs and drones since Saturday.
The 22-year-old Petito set out on a cross-country road trip from New York, where her parents live, on July 2 with Laundrie. The couple had been documenting much of their travels on YouTube and social media under the moniker Nomadic Statik, and Petito stayed in touch with her family throughout.
However, she hadn’t been seen since Aug. 25, and her family hadn’t officially heard from her since that day, when she video chatted with her mother, Nicole Schmidt.
Authorities confirmed on Wednesday that Laundrie returned alone to the North Port home he had been sharing with Petito and his parents on Sept. 1 with Petito’s 2012 Ford Transit van. The van has since been impounded by authorities and processed for evidence, with the FBI assisting with the investigation.
Petito’s family reported her missing on Sept. 11 after failing to hear from her. Schmidt claims she also attempted to contact Laundrie, as well as his mother, when she could not reach Petito, but she received no response.
Laundrie was named a person of interest on Wednesday. However, on Thursday, Garrison said no criminality was suspected at that time and that it remained a missing persons case. It is unclear if this has changed since the alleged discovery of Petito’s body.
In a press conference on Sunday night, FBI Denver’s supervisory senior resident agent in Wyoming, Charles Jones, noted, “The cause of death has not been determined at this time” and an autopsy still needed to be completed.
In response to the possible location of Petito’s body, Richard Benson Stafford, the lawyer representing her family, told Fox News, “I am making a personal request to members of the press and news media to refrain from contacting the Schmidt and Petito family. Due to today’s developments, we are asking the press and news media to have some decorum and sensitivity for Gabby’s family and allow them to grieve.”
“I will be in contact with you when Gabby’s family is ready to make a public statement,” he added.
When contacted by The Hill, the FBI’s Tampa field office said it cannot comment on active investigations. The FBI’s field office in Denver said it is not taking questions from the media at this time, and will instead provide updates via Twitter or in any upcoming press conferences.
–Updated at 2:27 p.m.