FBI back at Laundrie house; Authorities still searching for Brian Laundrie

Reporter: Emma Heaton, Zach Oliveri Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:

It’s been more than one week since investigators began looking for Brian Laundrie in Sarasota County.

Last week, authorities began searching for Laundrie in Carlton Reserve. Brian was the last person to have spent time with Gabby. And now, there’s a federal warrant out for his arrest for using a bank card that wasn’t his after her death.

North Port police say Sunday’s search goal was similar to Saturday’s. Which meant zoning in on the areas Laundrie would likely be in. This was a smaller search but could mean more clues in this case.

This search has been 8 days long by air, water and foot. North Port Police along with other law enforcement agencies have been diligently working to find clues about Brian Laundrie’s disappearance.

He vanished shortly after being a person of interest in the Gabby Petito case.

This weekend, there hasn’t been much about any new developments. WINK News Safety and Security Specialist Rich Kolko says the lack of activity could be a good sign.

“While a lot of the physical activity may be reduced as time goes on, there’s a lot of work being done behind the scenes. There’s agents writing subpoenas, conducting surveillances. Everything to build that timeline,” Kolko said.

“They need to complete the search in Sarasota so they can positively say that Brian Laundrie is not there,” said Kolko.

North Port Police told WINK News that crews have also been searching the preserve at night. The FBI announced it will now be the lead agency in the search for Laundrie and that the North Port Police Department will only be assisting.

The FBI also returned to the Laundrie family home on Sunday to pick up some personal items. They could become pivotal to this investigation.

There are no agents at the home currently but earlier on Sunday, they dropped by to pick up some items. Authorities say the reasons they wanted these personal items were for DNA purposes.

“It appears that Laundrie’s parents did today’s search as a consent which is very helpful that shows some cooperation on their part,” Kolko said.

Authorities didn’t need a search warrant as the items were handed over by Laundrie’s parents.

Safety and Security Specialist Rich Kolko explains the role that DNA matching plays in this investigations like this one. “Once they get a match they can determine who belong to a certain item or had contact with that item. What people had interacted where people have been at a certain time or location,” he said.

Matches are what help investigators create a timeline of events. “They want to know every moment and every place Brian Laundrie and Gabby were from the time they left for their camping trip, to the last time they were together, to when Brian Laundrie got home. And, in fact, where he is today,” said Kolko.

The location of Brian Landrie and Gabby Petito’s cause of death are still two major questions left unanswered. David Thomas is a forensic studies professor at FGCU and says when a body has time to decompose, which makes the investigation more difficult.

“The coroner has to deal with the elements what happened to the body from the time she was murdered up until they found the body. And then you have to deal with the animals and so there’s a lot at play,” Thomas said.

Kolko believes investigators are most likely looking at items recovered from places they stopped at such as gas stations, restaurants and campsites to help build the timeline.

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