If Brian Laundrie is still alive, he is likely trying to operate within a “comfort zone” of people, places and things he knows and trusts, according to one law enforcement expert. It may also be the key to capturing him, Fox News reports.
Terry Turchie, a former FBI agent who helped hunt down Olympic bomber Eric Robert Rudolph, told the news outlet that fugitives like Laundrie often rely on skills and environments with which they are familiar.
“People don’t change because they become a fugitive,” Turchie told Fox News. “They tend to try to figure out how they can land in the comfort zone.”
Laundrie is said to have enjoyed outdoor activities like hiking and has experience traveling, prompting some observers to suggest that he may be hiding in the wilderness or using back roads.
Others have speculated that Laundrie may be relying on people he knows for help and is keeping close physical proximity to them.
“Clearly he’s not out in some camp or some cave somewhere on the hard, cold ground or . . . snake, gator-infested water,” Turchie told Fox News. “He’s somewhere where he’s probably being taken care of. When you see how he came running home after something obviously happened, that kind of tells you what he’s probably doing now.”
The couple embarked on a cross-country road trip together over the summer in a camper van, but Laundrie returned home alone.
Laundrie refused to talk with police about Petito and has not been seen since September 13, when his parents claim he went for a hike in a wildlife preserve near their house in North Port, Florida, where he and Petito had been living.
Local, state and federal authorities have since been searching for Laundrie.
Between 1998 and 1999, Turchie spent a year searching for Rudolph in the North Carolina mountains. While on the lam, Rudolph had talked with the owner of a health food store with whom he shared a similar worldview, and that man later provided the FBI with useful information about Rudolph, according to Fox News.
Laundrie may be relying on similar types of people who he trusts or knows, Turchie told Fox News. It is also possible that Laundrie has gone to a far-away locale, but if this is the case, he would need money to make it work, Turchie told the news outlet. Even a minor traffic incident or infraction could render “his fugitive run pretty short,” Turchie told Fox News.
Fugitives “tire eventually, and many of them ended up being on the run,” sometimes for well more than a decade, Turchie told the news outlet. He added that he doesn’t believe Laundrie will be a fugitive for that amount of time.
“But the formula is essentially the same,” Turchie told Fox News. “You interview as many people who need this person as you can, you continue following that. You talk to neighbors, friends and you look for anything [the fugitive] might have said during a time that he didn’t have this guard up where he hadn’t done anything.”