The police who are searching for Brian Laundrie have found the remnants of a ‘fresh campsite’ at the Carlton Reserve in Florida in the latest development of the case.
FBI agents and police officers were seen scouring the 24,565 acre Reserve in Venice on Wednesday, which has been the focus of their efforts to find the fugitive fiancée of murdered Gabby Petito.
The find comes as Laundrie’s father agreed to come out of hiding and help the FBI in their hunt for him.
A source close to Laundrie’s family told CNN‘s Chris Cuomo that law enforcement said they ‘found fresh traces of a campsite’ in the Carlton Reserve.
Meanwhile, an attorney for the family said that Laundrie’s parents believe ‘that is exactly where he is located’, Cuomo said.
A former FBI agent with more than 25 years in the field also claimed Laundrie is secretly contacting his parents through their family attorney and that he will be found alive – just not soon.
Before the discovery of the campsite, law enforcement had asked the fugitive’s father Chris Laundrie to help with the search and show them trails in the Carlton Reserve that he is known to have used.
But officers later told Chris that because of the find, they wanted to search the area alone and ‘postponed’ his involvement.
The police who are searching for Brian Laundrie have found the remnants of a ‘fresh campsite’ at the Carlton Reserve in Florida in the latest development of the case
The development comes after Gabby Petito’s family have revealed that the 22-year-old’s body was found in a fairly isolated area, just ‘a five minute walk’ from where authorities found her and Brian Laundrie’s van
Steve Bertolino, the Laundrie family attorney, told CNN: ‘Chris Laundrie was asked to assist law enforcement in their search for Brian at the preserve today.
‘Since the preserve has been closed to the public Chris has not been able to look for Brian in the only place Chris and Roberta believe Brian may be.
‘Unfortunately North Port police had to postpone Chris’ involvement but Chris and Roberta are hopeful there will be another opportunity to assist.’
But Josh Taylor, chief spokesman of the North Port Police Department which is assisting the FBI in their search, told Fox News that his department did not ask for Chris’s involvement – and that police did not ‘postpone’ it.
‘In no world would we be the agency asking the family to help search in an FBI led investigation,’ Taylor said, while declining to answer questions about whether North Port police had invited Chris Laundrie to join the search before the FBI took over the case.
North Port police said all questions should be referred to the FBI.
The find comes as Laundrie’s father Chris agreed to come out of hiding and help the FBI in their hunt for him
FBI agents and police officers were seen scouring the 24,565 acre Reserve in Venice on Wednesday, which has been the focus of their efforts to find the fugitive fiancée of murdered Gabby Petito
Pat Diaz, a former homicide detective in Miami-Dade who also worked on FBI task forces, said he questioned whether the FBI would bring in a suspect’s father to help with their search.
He said: ‘They may have found stuff in the reserve for the father to identify. Not a body, but belongings.’
Bertolino later said the request ‘perhaps’ came from ‘a liaison to FBI’, while adding: ‘My statement is correct.’
Former FBI agent Jennifer Coffindaffer also told News Nation Now journalist Brian Entin in a Twitter live video that she believes Laundrie will be found alive – just not soon.
She also claimed Laundrie could be ‘loosely’ contacting his parents through their family attorney.
When asked whether she thought Laundrie might still be communicating with his parents, Coffindaffer said: ‘Yes, although very loosely through the attorney.’ It is not known if Laundrie has spoken to this parents since he was reported missing.
Speaking about why she believes Laundrie will be found alive, Coffindaffer said: ‘I believe he’s going to be able to hide in his surroundings. I think he’s a learned outdoorsman and survivalist and because of that I think he will be able to stay out of law enforcement’s grasp for a while.’
It was also revealed that Laundrie’s abandoned Ford Mustang was found just 16 miles from the Carlton Reserve last month.
A redacted abandoned vehicle report from September 14 reveals that the car was found at 6968 Reisterstown Road, North Port, in the Myakkahatchee Environmental Park in Florida. The park is an entrance to the Carlton Reserve.
An abandoned vehicle notice has been placed on the vehicle on September 14, North Port police said Wednesday.
Laundrie’s family had told police on September 17 they had not seen him for days after he told them he was going to the reserve.
Attorney Bertolino told CNN that after speaking to the FBI: ‘We now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday September 13.’ His parents had originally told police he had left on September 14.
He added: ‘The Laundries were basing the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events.
‘After consulting with the FBI and confirming the day Brian’s Mustang was found and returned to the Laundries’ home, we now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday September 13.’
It was also revealed that Laundrie’s abandoned Ford Mustang was found just 16 miles from the Carlton Reserve last month
A redacted abandoned vehicle report from September 14 reveals that the car was found at 6968 Reisterstown Road, North Port, in the Myakkahatchee Environmental Park in Florida
Laundrie’s abandoned Ford Mustang was found just 16 miles from the Carlton Reserve last month at 6968 Reisterstown Road, North Port, in the Myakkahatchee Environmental Park in Florida. The park is an entrance to the Carlton Reserve
The FBI later searched Laundrie’s abandoned Ford Mustang before towing it away for a deeper investigation after executing a search warrant on the home of his parents.
The development comes after Gabby Petito’s family have revealed that the 22-year-old’s body was found in a fairly isolated area, just ‘a five minute walk’ from where authorities found her and Brian Laundrie’s van.
In an emotional interview with Dr Phil, on Wednesday, Petito’s stepfather said: ‘Her body was found — I guess it would be in front of a tent, if that’s what was there — or just in front of the fire ring… there was definitely a fire ring there.’
‘It wasn’t far from the van. It was a five minute walk,’ Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt echoed.
Jim, who visited the location on the outskirts of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming where Petito’s body was found, painted a vivid picture of the isolated area.
‘You would have to want to go out over into that area,’ he said.
Jim (left) and Nichole Schmidt (right), appearing on Dr. Phil, revealed that Gabby Petito’s remains were found in an area of dispersed campgrounds on the borderline of Bridger-Teton National Forest, about 40 feet away from where Grand Teton National Park begins
Jim left a stone cross and flowers in the exact location where she was found
Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt shared: ‘It wasn’t far from the van. It was a five minute walk’
The pair had been traveling on a cross-country trip together since July 2, when they left New York. Petito was reported missing on September 11
Jim said his stepdaughter’s remains were found in an area of dispersed campgrounds on the borderline of Bridger-Teton National Forest, about 40 feet away from where Grand Teton National Park begins.
He explained in order to get to that area, campers would have to cross over the creek bed that separated the campgrounds from the area where police found Petito and Laundrie’s van.
‘So you have to cross over this creek bed, this rock area, and go through these tributaries and once you get on the other side it’s just some trees sparsely placed throughout and a lot sage brush, a lot of low brush,’ he shared.
‘It was in an area where there was a few trees and there was the remnants of a fire ring there…There was a clearing where I would assume – knowing I have a similar tent, where I would place my tent – and that opening would face out overlooking the mountain range.’
Jim left a stone cross and flowers in the exact location where she was found.
Petito (pictured) was reported missing on September 11, ten days after boyfriend Brian Laundrie returned to Florida in their van without Petito and refused to answer her parents about what had happened to her
Petito’s family (pictured) has urged fugitive Laundrie to turn himself in
Petito and her fiancé, Laundrie, 23, went on a cross-country trip in their van in August, but Petito never returned home.
The pair drew national attention after Petito was reported missing on September 11, ten days after Laundrie returned to Florida in their van without Petito and refused to answer her parents about what had happened to her.
Laundrie’s whereabouts are unknown since September 14, when his parents said he left the family home in North Port, Florida. The Laundries said that their son was heading to a nearby nature reserve and only had his backpack.
Investigators have chased down leads in multiple states since Laundrie went to ground three weeks ago but to date there has not been a confirmed sighting of the sole person of interest in 22-year-old Gabby’s homicide.
The FBI is currently investigating 11 alleged sightings of Laundrie along the Appalachian Trail close to the North Carolina-Tennessee border, DailyMail.com exclusively revealed Wednesday.
Gabby Petito, right, and Brian Laundrie, were on a cross-country van trip when went missing on Aug. 24. Brian was the key person on interest and went missing himself on September 17
The pair drew national attention after Petito was reported missing on September 11, ten days after Laundrie returned to Florida in their van (pictured) without Petito and refused to answer her parents about what had happened to her
Meanwhile, as the nationwide manhunt for Laundrie remained underway, Petito’s parents and step-parents participated in a two-part interview with Dr. Phil.
During the first episode, which aired on Tuesday, the family urged Brian Laundrie, 23, the only person of interest in the murder of their daughter, to turn himself in and bring a close to something that’s felt like ‘a bad soap opera.’
Petito’s father, Joe Petito, also labeled the entire Laundrie family ‘cowards’.
Joe launched the scathing attack against the Laundries, saying he believed Brian was still alive because ‘he is too cowardly to kill himself’.
Joe then raged against Brian’s parents Chris and Roberta who are holed up in their North Port, Florida home as daily protests about what they knew and when continue outside.
‘Anyone who lived in that house is a coward, said Petito, justifying that by saying ‘they don’t know how to stand up for their actions’.
Petito’s step-father, Jim added, ‘It’s almost like living in a soap opera. Like, it’s just a bad show. We all want to protect our children, but it’s also more important to teach your children right from wrong.’
‘It’s infuriating, Nicole said.
Joe added, ‘We actually thought that they were both missing at that time.’
In one of the text messages, Joe said ‘I’m going to call the police, just letting you know, because we have no idea.’
‘A normal parent when you text someone that [you] are going to call the cops because you can’t find your child, they would reply. No response. Nothing.’
Gabby Petito’s family went on Dr. Phil on Tuesday and called out Brian Laundrie’s family. Pictured from L-R: step-mother Tara Petito, father Joe Petito, step-father James Schmidt, mother Nicole Schimdit
Joe Petito called Chirs and Roberta Laundrie, pictured, cowards for avoiding his family
They said Laundrie’s parents were completely unresponsive, and Nicole, with tears in her eyes, admitted that she ‘felt it in her heart’ that her daughter was dead when she learned that Brian arrived at his parents house alone in Gabby’s car.
‘I didn’t want to admit it, but I felt it at the night I found out the van was in Florida, on [September 11]. I felt in my heart that she was gone.’
Joe described the Laundries as pitch ‘black,’ the opposite of transparent, as they allegedly withheld information while he and his family were desperately trying to find answers about their missing daughter.
‘It’s just black. There’s nothing there. They’ve got nothing.’
Jim, also revealed that he was the one to identify Gabby’s body, which was found in the Grand Teton National Park, in Wyoming, last month.
He said that when the body was found on September 19, police showed him an article of clothing that he matched as one of her favorite sweatshirts from a local New York shop.
‘We knew it was hers,’ Jim said.
Jim was in Wyoming to help search for his missing step-daughter and set up a memorial for her at the site when it was confirmed that her body was found there.
He said he was crying when he learned of his step-daughter’s fate, but he needed to compose himself in order to relay the information to the rest of the family in a conference call with authorities.
‘It was the hardest call of my entire life,’ Jim said.
‘It was the hardest thing I ever had to listen to,’ Nicole added.
When Dr. Phil asked if the family had any words for Brian, they all said, ‘Turn yourself in.’
‘If you truly loved her, you should turn yourself in,’ step-mother Tara Petito said.
Brian Laundrie, 23, who was reported missing on September 14, remains a person of interest in the disappearance and death of fiancée Gabby Petito
‘You’re only making it worse,’ Schmidt added. ‘For us and for yourself and your family. Let us have some closure. Let us move on and be able to remember Gabby for all the wonderful memories we had with her. Turn yourself in.’
The family’s lawyer, Richard Stafford, also urged the Laundries to fully cooperate with law enforcement and share their story, and he pushed for Brian to due the right thing and turn himself in.
‘He can’t change what he did back in Wyoming, but he can change his actions now.’
The family’s interview comes as Brian Laundrie’s sister, Cassie, spoke to Good Morning America on Tuesday, urging him to ‘come forward’ and telling her parents to ‘come clean’ if they are involved in his disappearance.
She added, ‘No I don’t know where Brian is. …I’d turn him in.’
This comes after she was exposed as being caught in a lie last week after first saying she had not spoken to her brother on his return from Utah and then admitting she had gone camping with him before he vanished.
Cassie told ABC’s GMA she wished her brother had come to her first when he returned to North Port, Florida, without Petito on September 1.
‘I really wish he had come to me first that day with the van because I don’t think we’d be here,’ she said.
Cassie said she is feeling a mix of emotions as her brother is still on the run after more than two weeks while Petito’s death is being investigated as a homicide.
‘I worry about him, I hope he’s ok and I’m angry I don’t know what to think,’ she said.
‘I would tell my brother to just come forward and get us out of this horrible mess.’
Brian Laundrie’s sister Cassie has urged her fugitive brother to ‘come forward’ and turn himself in, saying she doesn’t know ‘what to think’ happened on his doomed cross-country trip
Cassie told ABC’s GMA she doesn’t know ‘what to think’ about what happened on the young couple’s doomed cross-country trip. Above, Brian and Petito were in an Instagram photo on their cross-country trip on June 26
Cassie told ABC’s GMA she doesn’t know ‘what to think’ about what happened on the young couple’s doomed cross-country trip.
While she insisted she had nothing to do with Laundrie’s disappearance, she admitted she wasn’t so sure about her parents Christopher and Roberta Laundrie who she urged to cooperate with investigators.
‘I don’t know if my parents are involved,’ said Cassie. ‘I think if they are, then they should come clean.’
Cassie first broke ranks and spoke out on Monday, saying she ‘didn’t know’ if her fugitive brother had murdered his girlfriend Gabby Petito and claimed that their parents refuse to talk to her.
Chris and Roberta Laundrie had been initially reluctant to cooperate with the investigation regarding missing Petito until Laundrie went missing on September 17.
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, Nicole 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
- 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 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
- 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.