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The search for Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito’s boyfriend Brian Laundrie, who remains unaccounted for, has resumed again in the Florida wilderness on Tuesday.
“By land. By air,” the North Port police department tweeted on Friday morning, along with images of officials searching the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County with drones and vehicles. The FBI is leading the investigation.
"Please be aware, the Carlton Reserve is a vast and unforgiving location at times," the police department stated on Tuesday. "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."
Laundrie, who has refused to talk to police about Petito since he returned to his parents’ home in Florida without her following a cross-country road trip, apparently vanished last week after telling his family he was going for a hike.
His parents — Chris and Roberta Laundrie — called the cops on Friday to report that he had been missing since for three days, the North Port Police tweeted on Friday. The plea for help from police came after six days of the North Port police and the FBI "pleading with the family" to talk about Petito, whose apparent remains were found on Sunday. Friday marked the "first time they [the parents] have spoken with investigators in detail,” police noted.
An effort to find Laundrie has since been underway at the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve. Searches on both Saturday and Sunday turned up empty.
Chris Boyer, executive director of the nonprofit National Association for Search and Rescue (NASAR) told CNN that such a reserve creates a challenge for a search party. He said that the foliage and lack of sunlight makes it difficult for a person to be found, particularly if that person does not want to be found. He noted that a person who wants to evade authorities may be wearing colors that blend into the foliage and they may be covering their tracks.
"It's really hard to find people even when they want to be found," he said.
The fact that Laundrie had a head start — he was already gone for three days before his parents reported him missing — makes it even more challenging if he is on the run.
"The search area starts to grow every hour he could be in a car or be on foot," Boyer told CNN. "It gets pretty daunting, to be honest."
Investigators say it is also possible that Laundrie has hurt himself.
“Does anyone not think it’s possible he went out there and shot himself in the head? Sure,” North Port Police spokesperson Josh Taylor told the New York Post Sunday.
While Laundrie has not been charged with any crime, he is considered a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance. An autopsy to positively identify her and the manner in which she died is scheduled for Tuesday, according to the New York Post.
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