(Trends Wide) — The FBI is narrowing down its search for Gabby Petito’s fiancé Brian Laundrie to be more specific based on intelligence after officials spent more than 10 days combing through a 10,000-acre nature preserve, said Monday. police in North Point, Florida.
The development came after the FBI visited Laundrie’s family home to request personal items of theirs to help match DNA, the Laundrie’s attorney told multiple news outlets.
Laundrie’s parents told investigators they last saw him on September 14, three days after Petito’s disappearance was reported. His parents told police that he left their home with a backpack, saying he was going to the nearby Carlton Reservation.
A source close to the family told Trends Wide’s Chris Cuomo that Laundrie left his parents’ home without his cell phone and wallet, and that his parents were concerned he might hurt himself.
That weekend, the search for Laundrie became more critical when authorities found Petito’s remains in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest. The coroner ruled his death a homicide.
Petito’s family requested privacy after the discovery of her remains, and limited themselves to commenting on the woman, whom they described as cheerful, loving and adventurous, on the Internet and at some of the many commemorative events held in her honor.
But this Tuesday afternoon the family is expected to hold a press conference, according to the law firm of Richard Stafford, which represents the family.
The Petito case has highlighted the tens of thousands of missing persons cases across the country and has sparked the anguish and outrage of many.
Questions looming over what happened on his road trip with Laundrie have prompted digital detectives to trace the couple’s trail online to try to solve the case and have raised reports that point to the possibility that the tension has arisen between the couple.
911 audio message sheds more light on dispute
The first reports of the conflict between the two came on August 12, when a 911 caller in Moab, Utah, told the caller that he wanted to report a domestic dispute and described a white van with Florida license plates. .
“We passed by and the man was slapping the girl,” said the caller. He went on to say, “So we stopped. They ran down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, got in the car, and they drove off.”
Trends Wide obtained audio recordings from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office Monday that shed more light on what Moab police were told about “some kind of altercation.”
According to the audio, the caller at 911 told the officer that “a man hit a woman” and they got into a white Ford Transit van.
Police located the white van and made a stop near the entrance to Arches National Park. Petito and Laundrie were in the van.
In his police report, Officer Eric Pratt said Petito had slapped Laundrie, “that he grabbed her by the face and pushed her back as she pressed him and the van.”
Another responding officer, Daniel Robbins, said Petito had “gone into a manic state” when Laundrie tried to “separate from her so they could both calm his emotions.” The agent reported that he had seen “small visible scratches” on Laundrie’s face.
On-camera video of the incident shows Petito telling police: “We have been fighting this morning … going through some personal problems.”
“He didn’t let me get in the car before,” Petito said.
The agent asks Petito: “Because of your OCD?”
She responds: “He told me that I had to calm down, but I am already calm.”
“I have OCD and sometimes I get very frustrated,” she said.
According to police, officers suggested that the couple go their separate ways that night and no charges were filed.
Moab Police Deputy Chief Braydon Palmer told Trends Wide regarding the handling of the dispute on August 12: “We are contacting an outside agency to carry out that investigation.”
Palmer did not specify the agency.
The search for Laundrie
Laundrie returned to the Florida home he shared with his parents on September 1 without Petito, and authorities have sought him out for answers.
Initially, he was not wanted on any charges, but now Laundrie faces a federal arrest warrant for “use of unauthorized devices” stemming from his alleged actions following Petito’s death. According to the federal indictment, Laundrie allegedly used a debit card and a PIN number from accounts that did not belong to him to make charges over $ 1,000 between August 30 and September 1.
A lawyer for Laundrie’s family stressed in a statement that the order was not for Petito’s death, but was related to activities that allegedly took place afterward.
Two separate awards totaling $ 30,000 have been offered to anyone who provides law enforcement officers with Laundrie’s whereabouts.
FBI agents returned to Laundrie’s home on Sunday, as seen in a video recorded by Trends Wide. At least two officers could be seen at the home and one of them had a bag in his hand.
During the agency’s visit to the family’s home, “the FBI requested some personal items belonging to Brian Laundrie to help them cross-check the DNA and Brian’s parents provided the FBI with what they could,” the Laundrie attorney said, Steven Bertolino, to multiple media.
Enjoy every moment of this beautiful world, as she did
As investigators continued to search for Laundrie on Sunday, friends, family and strangers gathered in Holbrook, New York, to pay their respects to Petito.
Joseph Petito described his daughter in a eulogy as a “happy girl”, towards whom people gravitated. He made others feel welcome, he said, and he loved being outdoors, scuba diving, hiking the Appalachian Trail or snowboarding in the dunes of Colorado.
“I want them to be inspired by Gabby, that’s what we’re looking for,” said Joseph Petito. “If there is a trip you want to do, do it now. Do it now while you have time. If there is a relationship you are in that may not be the best for you, leave it now,” he said, in apparent reference to his daughter’s relationship. with Laundrie.
Petito’s stepfather, Jim Schmidt, also gave a compliment, telling those gathered: “Parents are not supposed to bury their children. This is not supposed to work like this.”
Petito provides “an example for all of us to live,” said Schmidt, “to enjoy every moment in this beautiful world, as she did – to love and give love to everyone as she did.”
Trends Wide’s Alison Kosik, Sarah Jorgensen, Dakin Andone, Travis Caldwell, Gregory Lemos, Laura Ly, Christina Maxouris, Taylor Romine, Leyla Santiago, and Sara Weisfeldt contributed to this report.