FBI searches home of Gabby Petito's fiancé a day after body found

·3 min read

The FBI on Monday searched the Florida home of Brian Laundrie, weeks after his fiancé Gabby Petito was reported missing. Police believe they discovered Petito's remains in Wyoming over the weekend.

Federal agents searched Laundrie's home Monday for nearly eight hours, questioning his parents and collecting evidence that could tell them what happened to Petito. The manhunt led them to a nearby nature preserve, but investigators found nothing.

Laundrie has been named a person of interest in the Petito case, but investigators have not been able to speak with him. Search warrant documents obtained by CBS News authorized authorities to seize computers, flash drives and other electronics.

The couple embarked on a cross-country road trip in July, documenting their travels in a blog called "Van Life" — but then, this 911 call came in August.

Caller: "I'd like to report a domestic dispute. We drove by and the gentleman was slapping the girl."

Dispatcher: "He was slapping her?"

Caller: "Yes, and then we stopped. They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off."

Police arrived at the scene and spoke with the couple, and there were no arrests. A responding officer wrote in a police report that Petito, Laundrie and a witness all said it was Petito who slapped Laundrie after an argument, and Laundrie then "grabbed her face and pushed her back." The officer said neither Petito nor Laundrie wanted to press charges.

The couple said they were headed to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. This weekend, the FBI discovered human remains they said were "consistent" with Petito's description nearby.

"Human remains were found consistent with the description of Gabrielle "Gabby' Petito," said Charles Jones of the FBI. "The cause of death has not been determined at this time."

The Teton County Coroner's Office said it should be done with the autopsy on Tuesday, and the FBI's field office in Denver will release any findings.

Officials investigate the home of Brian Laundrie in North Port, Florida, on September 20, 2021. / Credit: Curt Anderson / AP
Officials investigate the home of Brian Laundrie in North Port, Florida, on September 20, 2021. / Credit: Curt Anderson / AP

In the application for the search warrant, authorities wrote that text messages Petito sent to her mother appeared to show increasing tension between the couple as the trip progressed. The application did not include specific messages.

On August 27, the application said Petito sent an "odd text" about her grandfather that was phrased in a way she did not normally speak, sparking concern from her mother. It was the last text she sent before she disappeared, the application said.

Laundrie returned home on September 1, and 10 days later, Petito was reported missing.

"That's a lot of time for someone to get their act together. We certainly think Brian has some explaining to do," said Josh Taylor of the North Port Police Department.

Laundrie's parents said they haven't seen him since September 14. Petito's family said in a statement that "Brian is not missing, he is hiding."

Petito's friend, Rose Davis, also is demanding answers. "First word that popped in my brain was 'coward,' to be honest with you," she said. "You're supposed to love her. You're supposed to marry her. I want to text him and just be like, 'Please, please give me something.'"

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