Gabrielle Petito’s mother told Fox News on Thursday that she does not believe her late daughter’s boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, is at a Florida nature reserve.
Nichole Schmidt told Fox News that she knew her daughter was dead after her camper van arrived in Florida without her. While authorities continue to search the Carlton Reserve, a 24,000-acre preserve in Sarasota County, Schmidt said she does not believe they will find Laundrie, 23.
“I would think that he’s in an area like the Appalachian Trail or a campground where he can live off the land because he had those skills,” she told Fox.
Schmidt’s comments come days after a hiker claimed he spotted Laundrie driving near the Appalachian Trail, close to the North Carolina-Tennessee border. Dennis Davis told Fox that the man, who he believes is Laundrie, appeared lost and needed directions to California, where he was going to see his girlfriend.
Laundrie is wanted for credit card fraud for withdrawing $1,000 between August 30 and September 1 — when Petito, 22, was missing. Laundrie reportedly arrived in Florida on September 1, and Petito was reported missing on September 11.
Petito reportedly last spoke to her mother on August 23 or 24. She told her that she and Laundrie were leaving Utah and driving to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
On September 19, Petito’s body was discovered in the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. Her preliminary manner of death was deemed a homicide.
Laundrie, who was deemed a person of interest in Petito’s initial disappearance, was believed to have left his parents’ North Port home on September 13 or 14. His parents claimed he went to the Carlton Reserve, but he remains unaccounted for.
Laundrie has not been charged in connection with Petito’s death.
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[Featured image: Brian Laundrie/Moab Police Department]