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Gabby Petito case: Search continues for Brian Laundrie in Florida

Petito's remains continue to undergo forensic testing in Wyoming
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Posted at 8:03 AM, Sep 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-22 15:09:53-04

Dive teams arrive at Carlton Reserve in search for Brian Laundrie

North Port Police and the FBI have beefed up their search for Brian Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve.

Dive teams were seen Wednesday afternoon at the law enforcement staging area.

North Port Police Public Information Officer Josh Taylor, in a statement to Fox News, says "we have received a number of questions about underwater dive vehicles entering the Carlton."

"Area resources are looking at large bodies of water, including dive teams, boats, and sonar equipment," he said. "At this time, this does not mean anything has been found. It’s a part of the overall search process."

Search resumes Wednesday for Brian Laundrie in Florida Nature Preserve

Several law enforcement agencies are back out in the Carlton Reserve in Florida Wednesday morning as the search continues for Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend of Gabby Petito, who was found dead in the wilderness of Wyoming on Sunday.

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The North Port Police Department has focused on Sarasota County’s Carlton Reserve during their search for Brian Laundrie, who was named as a person of interest in the Gabby Petito disappearance. Police said the search on Tuesday was unsuccessful, but the “current plan is to return Wednesday with a similar operation.”

According to Fox News, police have been using drones and K-9s search for Laundrie, but the terrain is challenging and is about 75% underwater.

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North Port police are joined by several agencies, including the FBI and the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis said that the Florida Fish & Wildlife Conservation Commission has been assisting in the search. “I have directed all state agencies under my purview to continue to assist federal & local law enforcement as they continue to search - we need justice for Gabby Petito,” he tweeted.

The FBI on Tuesday afternoon confirmed that the remains discovered on Sunday in the Teton-Bridger National Forest belonged to missing 22-year-old woman Gabby Petito.

Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue’s initial determination for the manner of death is homicide.

Brian Laundrie, Petito’s fiancé, has been reportedly missing since Sept. 14, with his parents filing a missing persons report on Sept. 17.

Brian's parents said they picked up his Ford Mustang Tuesday from the nature reserve where the search was taking place, though they did not report him missing until police showed up at their home Friday.

Law enforcement personnel prepare to begin searching for Brian Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve in Florida on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021.

The Friends of the Carlton Reserve, a nonprofit that describes itself as being "in support of one of Sarasota County's natural lands," told Fox News that it has 8 to 10 trail cameras currently deployed in the area to monitor wildlife.

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"The locations of the cameras are kept secure and are not used for security purposes," the group wrote in an email. "Until recently we kept a continuous database that accumulated over 17,000 still images whose data were entered to include date, time, location, species, and other information relevant to the tally."

The group would not comment on whether they have provided any material captured by the cameras to law enforcement in the search for Laundrie.

A police K9 officer prepares to assist in the search for Brian Laundrie at the Carlton Reserve in Florida on Wednesday, Sept. 22, 2021.

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The North Port Police Department released images of dogs being deployed Wednesday morning as the resumed effort to locate Brian Laundrie.

Meanwhile, Petito's brother posted a tribute to his late sister on Instagram Wednesday morning.

"Gonna miss you till the end gabbs 😖😫#justiceforgabby," the caption read underneath a photo of Petito standing next to a mural of a wolf.

Gabby Petito’s uncle, Steve, tells Fox News on Wednesday that her parents will be issuing a statement when her body arrives home in New York from Wyoming.

The development comes as the Teton County coroner tells Fox News that the 22-year-old's remains are still in his possession and forensic testing remains ongoing, including microscopic and toxicology examinations.

The coroner said the test results could be coming back in the next few days or weeks.

However, Petito’s body will not be given back to her family until the FBI allows it, the coroner added.