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Manhunt For Brian Laundrie In Gator-Infested Florida Wetlands Scaled Back

North Port Police spokesperson Josh Taylor told Oxygen.com that there will not be "large scale types of efforts this week."

By Gina Tron
FBI Get Items For 'DNA Matching' At Brian Laundrie's Home

The manhunt for Gabrielle ”Gabby” Petito’s boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, in a Florida nature reserve will be scaled back this week, according to law enforcement.

“I don't think you're going to see those large-scale types of efforts this week,” North Port Police spokesperson Josh Taylor told Oxygen.com via email on Monday afternoon. “The FBI is now leading the search. I'm told, It will be scaled back and targeted based on intelligence.”

Laundrie, 23, has been named a person of interest in the investigation into his 22-year-old girlfriend’s disappearance. A federal arrest warrant was issued for his arrest last week for the unauthorized use of a debit card following Petito’s murder.

Laundrie, who is known to be a skilled outdoorsman, has been unaccounted for since mid-September after his parents say he went for a hike at Sarasota County’s Carlton Reserve. His parents picked up his Mustang, which they say had been abandoned near the reserve, and brought it back to their home.

The reserve is not exactly the most pleasant place to hike. 

“Please be aware, the Carlton Reserve is a vast and unforgiving location at times," the North Port Police Department stated earlier this month. "It is currently waste deep in water in many areas. This is dangerous work for the search crews as they are wading through gator and snake-infested swamps and flooded hiking and biking trails."

Taylor told Oxygen.com that he hopes the water will lower in areas that are currently difficult to access.

The FBI has also made another visit to the Florida home of Laundrie’s parents on Sunday to get items to assist in DNA matching. The agents left the home around 11 a.m. carrying a brown paper bag.

Petito and Laundrie were traveling together cross-country trip when he returned to the home of his parents in Florida without her on Sept. 1; her family reported her missing 10 days later. The search to find her came to a tragic end when her remains were discovered in Wyoming on Sept. 19. An autopsy conducted two days later confirmed she was murdered. 

Weeks before Petito vanished, she and Laundrie were pulled over after a witness claimed he saw Laundrie slapping and chasing Petito in Moab, Utah.

"The Murder of Gabby Petito: Truth, Lies and Social Media" will air on Oxygen on Monday, January 24 at 9/8c. It's also available to stream on Peacock now.