(CNN) — The search for Gabby Petito’s fiancé, who is now missing, centers on a Florida nature preserve, where 50 agents from five local agencies and FBI agents searched the area on Saturday, according to North Port police spokesman Josh. Taylor.
During a news conference, Taylor said Brian Laundrie has “enormous pressure” on him to provide answers after Petito’s disappearance.
Laundrie’s family told police Friday night that they had not seen the 23-year-old since Tuesday. Police said at the time that Laundrie is not wanted for a crime and that authorities are working on “multiple investigations of missing persons.”
Investigators searched for Laundrie in the Carlton Nature Preserve near Venice, Florida, North Port Police said on Twitter on Saturday. The search effort included the use of drones and bloodhounds that used items of Laundrie’s clothing taken from his home to obtain his scent, Taylor said.
The search ended Saturday night due to darkness, but will resume Sunday morning.
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
Laundrie’s family told police that Brian had left home with his backpack on Tuesday and told them he was going to the reservation. Police believe the vehicle he was driving may also have been on reserve, but has since been returned to Laundrie’s home.
Police initially focused their search on a nearby park of about 80 hectares in size, but throughout the day the search spread to the reserve, which is about 10,117 hectares, he said.
When asked why Laundrie’s family didn’t tell police about his whereabouts until Friday, Taylor said, “that’s a great question.”
“It’s obvious we’ve been trying to reach the family for answers on this case since (last) Saturday,” Taylor said. “The first time we had an in-depth conversation with them was yesterday when their attorney called and said the family was concerned about Brian’s whereabouts.”
Laundrie’s family attorney, Steven Bertolino, said Friday that Laundrie’s whereabouts “is currently unknown.”
Richard Stafford, the Petito family’s attorney, said in a brief statement sent to CNN: “Gabby’s entire family wants the world to know that Brian is not missing, he’s hiding. Gabby is missing.”
Petito’s search is already a week old
Law enforcement began investigating Petito’s disappearance on September 11, when the family reported her missing after they were unable to contact her for several days. Before his disappearance, Petito had been traveling with Laundrie by road through several western states.
Laundrie returned to North Port without Petito on Sept. 1, according to police. Later, authorities found the van the couple had been riding in at the home Petito shared with Laundrie and his parents in North Port.
On Saturday, the FBI said the search for Petito included field studies being conducted in Grand Teton National Park with the National Park Service, the Teton County Sheriff’s Office and Jackson, Wyoming police.
“This is an active and ongoing investigation, so we ask the public to stay away from any personnel, equipment, vehicles and their related activity for the safety of the public in these remote areas and to protect the integrity of our work.” , said the FBI office in Denver on Saturday afternoon.
In a statement he provided the previous Friday to NBC that is still standing. The statement says Laundrie will not speak on the matter because “intimate partners are often the first person law enforcement turns their attention to in cases like this and the warning that ‘any statement made will be used against them.’ it’s true, regardless of whether my client had anything to do with Miss Petito’s disappearance. “
Earlier in the week, North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison told CNN’s Don Lemon that Laundrie had invoked his Fifth Amendment right, which generally means that a person cannot be compelled to make statements that they feel. that can be negative or used against you.
Police previously visited the home, but the family declined to speak and instead gave authorities their attorney’s information, Taylor reported this week.
On Saturday, he reiterated that the police were limited in what they could do because “we don’t have a crime.”
“We can’t just take people away, he certainly has the Fifth Amendment not to speak, and we respect him,” he said. “We get it. We are frustrated.”
Petito’s stepfather: “I don’t know what to believe”
Petito’s stepfather said Friday that he is happy Laundrie’s parents called the police, but said, “I don’t know what to believe.”
Jim Schmidt told CNN’s Cuomo He was “shocked” by the news shared moments before Laundrie’s family had spoken to authorities, saying that he hadn’t even had a moment to digest it.
“All that matters is finding her and bringing her home,” Schmidt said.
“We try to get the word out and try to find that person who might have some details that we need,” Schmidt said. “I’m just trying to go out and find that person and I hope they can help us with whatever gets her home.”
When asked if there was anything from the last few times he contacted Gabby that might be helpful, Schmidt said, “I’m not sure. We’ve analyzed everything as much as we can, and the mind races in a million different directions. when you try to put something like this together and we’re still trying to fully understand the situation. “
Schmidt called on the media to “keep spreading the word,” adding: “Some different photos, not just the ones that have been there, maybe that triggers something in the public that someone didn’t recognize before and that will continue to spread. that word and keep this fresh in the media to continue until we find it. “
El FBI posted a new poster asking for help in the search for Petito.
Campsite reviews show the couple
Before their disappearance, Petito and Laundrie appeared to have left reviews on an online camping community app called The Expensive.
An account linked to the couple lists the camps in Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Washington, Wyoming and Utah, and also left reviews of the campgrounds where Petito was last seen.
The camping spots in Grand Teton National Park were saved in the profile.
According to a timeline of events provided Friday by the Petito family’s attorney, Gabby contacted her mother on Aug. 24, saying she was leaving Utah and heading to the Tetons.
A photo of the couple was posted on The Dyrt two months ago and their social media accounts were tagged.
His most recent review is of Arches National Park in Utah in July, in the same county where Moab police had an interaction with Petito and Laundrie two weeks later.
At the time, officers from the Moab City Police Department responded to reports of disorderly conduct involving Petito and Laundrie, which resulted in a report describing them as “involved in some kind of altercation.”
Officers responding to the incident suggested that Laundrie and Petito should separate for the night, according to the report, and no charges were filed.
One of the officers who responded to the scene wrote in the police report that Laundrie said the couple had been traveling together for “the past four or five months.”
CNN’s Paul P. Murphy, Kaylene Chassie, Christina Maxouris, Aya Elamroussi, Andy Rose, MiSeon Lee, and Deanna Hackney contributed to this report.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism