After more than 10 days of scouring through a 25,000-acre nature reserve, the FBI is scaling back its search for Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito’s fiancé. According to the North Point, Florida police on Monday, they will concentrate more on intelligence.
This change of direction came after the FBI’s visit to Laundrie’s family home to ask for his personal items to help with DNA matching, as stated by the Laundries’ lawyer told multiple media outlets.
According to the statements of Laundrie’s parents to the investigators, September 14, three days after Petito went missing, was the last day they saw Brian. They added that he left their home with a backpack saying he is on his way to the Carlton Reserve nearby.
According to a source close to the family, who shared information to Chris Cuomo of CNN, Laundrie left his parents’ house without his cell phone and wallet, making his parents worry that he might harm himself.
The weekend following Laundrie’s disappearance, the probe became more crucial after the authorities discovered Petito’s remains in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest. After an examination by a coroner, the death was ruled as a homicide.
Petito’s family requested privacy after her remains were found, only remembering Petito as a happy, loving and adventurous woman to honor her during memorials and online.
However, according to the law office of Richard Stafford, who represents the family, they are scheduled to hold a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
The impending questions about her road trip with Laundrie stimulated digital detectives to explore the couple’s online trail and find some solution to the case. Some reports have emerged about tension building up between the couple.
Dispatch audio gives hints of tension
On August 12, a 911 caller in Moab, Utah, informed dispatchers he wanted to report a domestic fight and added details of a white van containing a Florida license plate. This was one of the first reports of conflict between the couple.
“We drove by and the gentleman was slapping the girl,” the caller said. He went on to say, “Then we stopped. They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off.”
The dispatch audio sheds some light on what Moab Police were told about “some sort of altercation.”
According to the audio, the dispatcher told the officer that “a male hit a female” and that they went inside a white Ford Transit van.
Police located the white van and initiated a stop near the entrance to Arches National Park. Petito and Laundrie were in the van.
Officer Eric Pratt said in his police report that Petito had slapped Laundrie, “who grabbed her face and pushed her back as she pressed upon him and the van.”
Daniel Robbins, another responding officer, said Petito had “gone into a manic state” when Laundrie tried to “separate from her so they could both calm their emotions.” The officer reported seeing “minor visible scratches” on Laundrie’s face.
The incident was recorded in the bodycam video showing Petito telling police, “We’ve just been fighting this morning — going through some personal issues.”
“He wouldn’t let me in the car before,” Petito said.
The officer asks Petito, “because of your OCD?”
She replies, “He told me I needed to calm down, but I’m already calm.”
“I have OCD and sometimes I get really frustrated,” she added.
The police said, the responding officers advised the couple to temporarily separate that night and no charges were filed.
Moab Police Assistant Chief Braydon Palmer, on the handling of the August 12 dispute said, “we are reaching out to an outside agency to conduct that investigation.” However, he did not mention the agency in particular.
On September 1, Laundrie came back to his parent’s home in Florida without Petito, and officers have been searching for him to shed some answers.
In the beginning, there were no charges against him, however, because of the “use of unauthorized devices” coming from his suspected actions following Petito’s death, Laundrie now faces a federal warrant for his arrest. According to the federal indictment, Laundrie allegedly used a debit card and PIN number for charges exceeding $1,000 from accounts that were not his.
Laundrie’s family attorney highlighted in a statement that the warrant was for the activities after Petito’s death and not for the homicide.
There are two separate rewards summing up to $30,000 are offered to anyone who can provide information of Laundrie’s whereabouts to the authorities.
FBI agents returned to the Laundrie home Sunday, as seen in a video shot by CNN. At least two agents could be seen at the home and one had a bag in his hand.
On Sunday, FBI agents visited Laundrie’s family home. According to Steven Bertolino, the Laundries’ lawyer, “the FBI requested some personal items belonging to Brian Laundrie to assist them with DNA matching and Brian’s parents provided the FBI with what they could.”