Brian Laundrie’s family has released a statement in response to the news that a body believed to be Gabby Petito was found earlier today.
NewsNationNow‘s Brian Entin reports that the statement, made via the family’s attorney, said: “The news about Gabby Petito is heartbreaking. The Laundrie family prays for Gabby and her family.”
Brian Laundrie, who was engaged to Ms Petito, has been missing since last Tuesday. His family has come under fire throughout the case for not cooperating with authorities, and not reporting Mr Laundrie’s disappearance until Friday.
He has been a “person of interest” in the case from the beginning, and a major manhunt is currently underway to track him down. However police said on Saturday that their search for Mr Laundrie was a missing persons investigation and he was not currently wanted in connection with a crime.
Mr Laundrie was allegedly last seen by his family on Tuesday when he left his home for Florida’s Carlton Reserve. His family told investigators that he had driven to the reserve in a Mustang, which they later collected from the area.
On Sunday, more than 50 law enforcement officers began a second day of searching in the vast wildlife area near Florida’s Gulf Coast. The Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County spans more than 24,000 acres, and contains more than 100 miles of trails, as well as numerous campgrounds.
North Port Police Department spokesperson Josh Taylor said on Saturday that it’s possible Mr Laundrie could be in the swamps of the Carlton Reserve “for months”.
“It’s muddy, it’s wet, there are a few unpaved dirt roads that are out there basically running along the power lines,” Mr Taylor said.
“You could be out here for months if you wanted,” he added.