(Trends Wide) — Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito’s fiancé, has been missing for almost a week.
His disappearance comes after he and Petito embarked on a trip around the US in June, only for him to return alone in September. Petito’s search has made national news with daily happenings, and Laundrie’s disappearance has only added to the confusion.
Laundrie has not been charged and is not suspected of any crime at this time, authorities said. He had refused to speak to the police, leaving the authorities puzzled and powerless in their investigation.
Here’s why the search for Laundrie has been so difficult for authorities:
Laundrie had a multi-day lead
Laundrie’s family told police Friday night that they had not seen the 23-year-old since Tuesday. His family told the police that he left home with his backpack and told them that he was going to Carlton Reserve, a 10,000 acre nature preserve near Venice, Florida.
Police in North Port, Florida, tweeted Saturday that authorities were searching the preserve, an effort that included the use of drones and bloodhounds that had used items of Laundrie’s clothing taken from his home to obtain his scent, the spokesman said. police officer Josh Taylor.
In a place like a nature preserve, foliage and lack of sunlight affect visibility, according to Chris Boyer, executive director of the nonprofit National Search and Rescue Association (NASAR). The night can also hamper efforts, especially if the wanted person does not have a source of light or fire.
But when it comes to people eluding authorities, the search becomes much more difficult. An avoidant person is more than likely to wear clothing that helps them blend in with their surroundings, Boyer said. To avoid being seen by helicopters or drones, a person can also crawl through stream beds and avoid leaving footprints, trash, or evidence of a campfire.
Boyer said technology such as night vision goggles, drones and thermal sensors could help pinpoint a person’s location.
Before her disappearance, Laundrie had been at her home in North Port for about two weeks.
He and Petito had been touring the western states together in his truck for months until he returned to North Port on September 1 without her.
The family told police the last time they saw him was on September 14.
Cheryl Dorsey, a retired Los Angeles police sergeant, told Trends Wide’s Jake Tapper on Monday that she was curious why Laundrie’s parents did not alert authorities to her departure Tuesday.
“I understand he’s a grown man,” Dorsey said, adding that he’s still in his 20s. “What influence, if any, do (his parents) have on him? He decides to go backpacking and they couldn’t stop him. ? “
Police no longer believe Laundrie is in the nature reserve
North Port police said Monday they have changed the focus of their search for Laundrie and are no longer looking for him in the nature preserve.
“At this time, we believe we have exhausted all avenues in finding the land there,” Taylor said.
Boyer, the director of NASAR, said that trying to find a person in the desert can be very difficult.
“It’s really hard to find people even when they want to be found,” he told Trends Wide on Monday.
However, what makes it difficult to find Laundrie is the distance he could have traveled before authorities began looking for him.
“The search area starts to grow every hour that he could be in a car or walking,” Boyer said. “It gets pretty overwhelming, to be honest.”
Laundrie has not been charged with any crime
Laundrie has not cooperated with the police in the search for Petito, and since he has not been charged with a crime or named a suspect, the police cannot do more than file a search warrant.
The FBI executed a search warrant Monday at Laundrie’s parents’ home, where he lived with Petito.
The FBI removed Christopher and Roberta Laundrie from the home, executed the search warrant, and then brought them inside for questioning, Taylor said. The search of the house concluded Monday night, tweeted the FBI.
Police visited the home last week, but the family declined to speak and instead gave authorities their attorney’s information, Taylor said.
On Saturday, Taylor reiterated that police were limited in what they could do because “we don’t have a crime.”
“Laundrie is not suspected of a crime. We believe that he is likely one of the last people to see Gabby Petito alive, and for that reason he is a very important witness,” said Andrew McCabe, Trends Wide’s senior analyst on security forces. order and former deputy director of the FBI.
Before disappearing, Laundrie was silent about Petito’s disappearance. North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison told Trends Wide’s Don Lemon last week that Laundrie had invoked his Fifth Amendment right, which generally means that a person cannot be compelled to make statements that they feel they can. be negative or used against you.
Steve Moore, a retired FBI supervisory special agent, told Trends Wide on Monday that in order to get a search warrant, authorities would need to have probable cause that there was a crime and the person in the home was involved in the crime.
“What I think people in law enforcement are doing right now is making sure they have all the crossed t’s and dotted i’s because I think they believe, and I believe, that they know who did this and they want to make sure their case is perfect at this point, “Moore said.
McCabe told Trends Wide’s Ana Cabrera on Monday that police had reached the point where “the search warrant has to be executed.”
“Mainly, I think what investigators will be looking for is anything he has written, any record of his thoughts, if he wrote any notes, if he kept a journal” or any electronic activity and history that he may have, McCabe said.
Alta Spells, Jenn Selva, Dakin Andone, and Travis Caldwell contributed to this report.