(NEW YORK) — A massive search is continuing in Florida for Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend of Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old woman who went missing on a cross-country trip and who authorities confirmed as the body discovered in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.
The search for the 23-year-old Laundrie is centered around North Port, Florida, where investigators said Laundrie returned to his home on Sept. 1 without Petito but driving her 2012 Ford Transit.
Laundrie has been named by police as a “person of interest” in Petito’s disappearance. Laundrie has refused to speak to the police and has not been seen since Tuesday, Sept. 14, according to law enforcement officials.
The search for Laundrie is the latest twist in the case that has grabbed national attention as he and Petito had been traveling across the country since June, documenting the trip on social media.
Petito’s parents, who live in Long Island, New York, reported her missing on Sept. 11 after not hearing from her for two weeks.
Here are the latest developments. All times Eastern:
Oct 11, 1:50 pm
Body found in North Carolina national park not connected to Brian Laundrie: FBI
The discovery over the weekend of a body in the Blue Ridge Parkway National Park in North Carolina is not connected to the search for wanted fugitive Brian Laundrie, according to the FBI.
While law enforcement agencies have investigated several tips of Laundrie being spotted in North Carolina along the Appalachian Trail, which cuts through the Blue Ridge Parkway, officials said none of the purported sightings have panned out.
On Saturday afternoon, a Blue Ridge Parkway visitor discovered a body of a man below the park’s Yadkin Valley Overlook, according to a statement from the National Parks Service. The identity of the body and a cause of death are pending the results of an autopsy, officials said.
The FBI, which is leading a nationwide search for Laundrie, released a statement to ABC affiliate station WSOC-TV in Charlotte on Sunday saying that while the discovery is part of an ongoing investigation, “At this time, there is no evidence to connect or any reason to believe it is related to the search for fugitive Brian Laundrie.”
Oct 06, 6:42 pm
Authorities to allow Laundrie’s father to assist with search, attorney says
Steven Bertolino, the Laundrie family attorney, told ABC News Wednesday that authorities are going to allow Chris Laundrie, Brian Laundrie’s father, to assist with the search at the Carlton Reserve.
Investigators don’t currently have more details on when he will join the search.
The Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office told ABC News they provided aerial support Wednesday for a search of the area.
-ABC News’ Whitney Lloyd and Alondra Valle
Oct 05, 11:11 pm
Brian Laundrie left parents’ home to hike day earlier than parents originally told investigators
Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino confirmed to ABC News Tuesday night that the family now believes Brian Laundrie left to hike the Carlton Reserve on Monday, Sept. 13. Previously, they had told investigators he left on Tuesday, Sept. 14.
“The Laundries were basing the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events. Upon further communication with the FBI and confirmation of the Mustang being at the Laundrie residence on Wednesday September 15, we now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday September 13,” Bertolino said.
Oct 05, 4:50 pm
Brian Laundrie flew home to Florida in early August: Family attorney
An attorney for the family of Brian Laundrie confirmed to ABC News on Tuesday that the wanted fugitive flew home to Florida from Salt Lake City on Aug. 17 and flew back to Utah six days later to rejoin his girlfriend, Gabby Petito, on their cross-country road trip.
Steven Bertolino said Laundrie flew home to “obtain some items and empty and close the (couple’s) storage unit to save money as they contemplated extending the road trip.” Bertolino said the couple paid for the flights together as they were sharing expenses.
Laundrie’s trip back to the Tampa area came five days after he and Petito were stopped by police in Moab, Utah, when witnesses reported the couple was engaged in a domestic violence incident in Moab.
Copyright © 2021, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.