A spokesperson for the North Port Police Department in Florida has denied an earlier report that investigators found a fresh campsite at or near the nature preserve where authorities have been searching for fugitive Brian Laundrie.
North Port Police spokesperson Josh Taylor told CNN that no campsite was found at the Carlton Reserve where there was a renewed police presence this week, following weeks of searching for Laundrie.
A source close to the family told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday that investigators had located what appeared to be a recent campsite and signs of human activity in the search area. The FBI, which is now the lead investigating agency in the manhunt for Brian Laundrie, never confirmed the finding.
“Is it possible that they thought that there might be a campsite out there or something they may have seen from the air but when they got on the ground that’s not what it turned out to be? Sure, I think that’s a possibility,” Taylor told CNN. “Bottom line, is that investigators are telling me that no campsite was found out there.”
The contradiction raises further questions about information that is being provided to the public by those who are speaking on behalf of Laundrie’s parents. As previously reported, the family’s lawyer this week said that Brian Laundrie’s parents last saw him on September 13, not September 14, as the parents reportedly told police on September 17. Following the disclosure on September 17, investigators launched a large-scale search of the sprawling nature reserve where Laundrie’s parents said he was going for a hike on the last day they saw him.
It is unclear if investigators have further evidence that Laundrie may be in the reserve.
Laundrie’s girlfriend Gabby Petito was found dead in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Park on September 19. Laundrie had previously been named a person of interest in her disappearance, but he has not yet been named a suspect in her death. After Petito’s body was discovered, the FBI issued a warrant for Laundrie’s arrest on suspicion that he fraudulently accessed a financial account that did not belong to him shortly after Petito was last in contact with her family in late August.
Laundrie’s whereabouts remain unknown, and he has not spoken to police since Petito was reported missing on September 11.
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