Saturday’s search for Brian Laundrie ended as the sun set over Florida’s Gulf Coast Saturday night, with no sign of Gabby Petito’s 23-year-old boyfriend four days after he fled his parents’ house in North Point.
There’s been no sign of the 22-year-old Petito either, more than 2,300 miles west where specialist search teams are looking in the backcountry of Grand Teton National Park, the last place Gabby was known to be before she stopped communicating with her parents and Laundrie returned home to Florida without her.
But North Point police told ABC 7 they now have limited access to cell phone tracking data for both the missing 20-somethings. Police told ABC 7’s Jeff Butera that they cannot track real-time locations at this point and they still need to secure search warrants to get “complete access” to the phones.
NOTE: North Port Police emailed to clarify this does not allow them to track anyone in real time. https://t.co/WVOBDr3G7B
— Jeff Butera (@ABC7Jeff) September 18, 2021
It’s not known why search warrants have not been secured, but North Point police have repeatedly said in the past few days that they do not have evidence of a crime and that Laundrie, who they said is a “person of interest,” is not wanted.
Laundrie and Petito set off in July for a cross-country road trip in a converted 2012 Ford Transit van, as CrimeOnline previously reported. For the initial weeks of the trip, Petito often communicated with her family as well as frequent posts on her social media accounts about the trip. But her last communication with family came on August 25. Laundrie returned home alone in the van on September 1, but Petito’s family didn’t learn that until nearly two weeks later. They reported her missing on September 11.
Our search of the Carlton is being called this evening due to darkness. Nothing found. Efforts will begin again Sunday morning. pic.twitter.com/l7L8B9hHrM
— North Port Police (@NorthPortPolice) September 18, 2021
Since that time, police in Moab, Utah, revealed that they spoke with the couple on August 12 when officers stopped their van during what one officer described as a “mental health crisis.” The officers separated the couple for the night but didn’t think the incident rose “to the level of a domestic violence assault.”
While Petito’s family repeatedly asked for help finding their daughter — specifically asked Laundrie and his family to come forward and talk — the Laundries remained silent, only issuing a statement that they intended to remain “in the background” for the time being.
Then, on Friday, Laundrie’s parents abruptly asked police to come to their home. Police said that during the two hour meeting, the Laundries only told them that they hadn’t seen their son since September 14 and they had no idea where he is.
Local and federal authorities headed to the 24,500-acre Carlton Reserve, where family members said they believe he went, and deployed search crews, drones, dogs, and boats in their effort to find him, while Petito’s family issued a statement saying that Laundrie was “hiding,” not missing.
Meanwhile, in Wyoming, FBI agents, park rangers, police officers, and sheriff’s deputies were combing Grand Teton for signs of Gabby Petito, including specialized crews searching the backcountry.
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[Featured image: Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie/Instagram]