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Insider reveals NO evidence of Brian Laundrie in $1.2m swamp search & lack of tracks means he ‘probably isn’t there’

THE cost may be steep for the six-day manhunt led by FBI and local law enforcement scouring 25,000 acres of Florida swampland for Gabby Petito’s missing fiancé Brian Laundrie.

“I can accurately estimate they are spending $200,000 a day on this search,” swamp search and rescue expert and former LA County Sheriff's deputy Mike Hadsell said, and suspects that after the lengthy search “Laundrie's probably not there.”

Hadsell says he’s familiar with the alligator and snake infested terrain of the Carlton Reserve and suspects Laundrie's parents may have to pay the costly bill if it turns out they covered for their 23-year-old son to avoid facing authorities, according to an interview with the Daily Mail.

“And if this thing turns out to be bogus and they can prove that the family misled law enforcement on this, the parents will get a bill,” he added. 

On Thursday, Christopher, 62, and Roberta Laundrie, 55, had reportedly traveled to Orlando, Florida hours after leaving their North Port home.

Laundrie disappeared on September 14, after he allegedly told his parents that he was going for a hike in a Florida nature reserve. 

His 22-year-old vlogging fiancee Gabby Petito was reported missing on September 11 and Laundrie was declared a "person of interest" by cops investigating the case days later. 

On Sunday, authorities discovered Gabby’s body in a remote area of Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming on Sunday. 

They later confirmed the cause of death was homicide. 

‘NO TRACE’ OF LAUNDRIE

Hadsell has been chatting with insiders pursuing Laundrie and they reportedly told him they’ve come up dry so far. 

Read our Gabby Petito live blog for the very latest news and updates...

“Any time he would move, especially in the Carlton, he would leave trails because you sink in the mud,” he told the publication.

“There would be evidence that somebody has been moving through there. 

“And any K9 will pick that up.”

Hadsell claims there’s been no Laundrie scent or prints.  

“So far I've heard they've found none of that, he said. “If that's true, then Laundrie's probably not there.”

SWAMP SEARCH 'WEARING'

More than 50 searchers made up of FBI agents alongside cops in Laundrie's hometown of North Port, Florida and various other law enforcement agencies logged their sixth day tracking him in the dense swampland using dive teams, dogs, drones, ATVs, infrared cameras.

"We're looking through wooded areas, through bodies of water. We're looking through swampy areas and we're deploying the resources to be able to do that," said Commander Joseph Fussell who is leading the search in Florida. 

He added that the search will press on in the Carlton Reserve area.

"We are not wasting our time out here,” he said.  

“We are doing our due diligence to find Brian in an area that intelligence has led us to believe he could possibly be in."

The Sun reached out to Commander Fussell but as of this publication has not received word back. 

Fussell acknowledged the high level of pressures the searchers are enduring.

“The staff that are out there searching, the get home and they're exhausted,” he said. 

“They're out here working as hard as they can…. When they get home, they shower, wash off the dirt from the day and that is probably about the amount of energy that they have before they have to wake up and come back out the next day.

“This is wearing on everyone. 

“Everyone has a level of stress, everybody has the drive. And that's really what's carrying us through.”

FEDERAL WARRANT

Laundrie and Patito had logged about two months into a four-month roadtrip adventure when Laundrie returned alone to his parent’s Florida home with Petito’s van on Sept. 1.

"Two people went on a trip, one person returned, and that person isn't cooperating," North Port Chief of Police Todd Garrison said early on in the search for Petito, who had been reported missing on Sept. 11.

Seven days later, even as a throng of press and protesters camped outside the parents’ front lawn, Brain Laundrie disappeared and was reported missing by his family. 

On Thursday, the Denver field office of the FBI released an arrest warrant and indictment of Laundrie related to his unauthorized use of a Capital One debit card and pin code with "intent to defraud" between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1 in Wyoming and elsewhere running up a balance of $1,000 or more.

"While this warrant allows law enforcement to arrest Mr. Laundrie, the FBI and our partners across the country continue to investigate the facts and circumstances of Ms. Petito's homicide," FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider stated in a release accompanying the indictment.

"We urge individuals with knowledge of Mr. Laundrie's role in this matter or his current whereabouts to contact the FBI No piece of information is too small or inconsequential to support our efforts in this investigation."

Laundrie's attorney responded to the indictment and stressed that it's not directly related to Petito's "actual demise" but for focusing on activities that occurred after she died.

"It is my understanding that the arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie is related to activities occurring after the death of Gabby Petito and not related to her actual demise,’ Steve Bertolino told the Daily Mail.

"The FBI is focusing on locating Brian and when that occurs the specifics of the charges covered under the indictment will be addressed in the proper forum."

Gabby Petito timeline

Gabby Petito, 22, was last seen on August 24, leaving a hotel in Utah. Here is a timeline of Gabby Petito's disappearance:

  • June 2021 - Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie set off on a cross-country trip across the US.
  • July 4 - Gabby posts photos of herself barefoot in Gove County, Kansas.
  • July 8 - Gabby posts photos of herself at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
  • July 18 - Gabby and Brian post photos of themselves at Utah's Zion National Park.
  • August 12 - Body camera footage was released in September showing an encounter Brian and Gabby had with police in Utah. Police confirmed that no significant injuries were reported.
  • August 19 - Gabby and Brian post a video on their YouTube channel chronicling their trip. The video receives more than 200,000 views.
  • August 24 - Gabby is spotted leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • August 25 - Gabby Facetimes her mom, Nichole Schmidt, for the final time. In a later police report, Schmidt said her conversations with her daughter revealed "more and more tension" between her and Brian.
  • August 25 - Gabby also posts her last Instagram. No location is given.
  • August 27 - Gabby is seen for what's believed to be the final time. Witnesses claim they saw Brian in an explosive argument with staff at a restaurant in Jackson Hole, leaving Gabby in tears.
  • August 27 - Four hours later, travel bloggers driving through Grand Teton National Park drive past the couple's van "abandoned" on a dirt road.
  • September 1 - Brian returns home to Florida without Gabby.
  • September 11 - Gabby's parents report her missing to Suffolk County police.
  • September 14 - Brian's family issues a statement saying he has retained an attorney and will not be cooperating with investigators.
  • September 14 - Brian is allegedly last seen by his family. He reportedly told them he was going hiking in Cartlon Reserve but failed to return.
  • September 15 - Florida's North Port police announce Brian is a person of interest in the case. He is not charged with any crime.
  • September 16 - Utah police release body camera footage of the police encounter with Brian and Gabby.
  • September 17 - Brian's parents say they have not seen their son in a couple of days and report him missing.
  • September 18 - Police announce they were searching Carlton Reserve in Florida for Brian. Police announce they have not found anything.
  • September 19 - Authorities in Wyoming say they found a body in Grand Teton National Park. The FBI announces the body was believed to be Gabby's but a full forensic identification needs to be completed first to confirm.
  • September 20 - Police execute a search warrant on Laundrie's home, seizing his silver Mustang and a hard drive that may contain "evidence relevant to proving that a felony has been committed."
  • September 21 - Officials announce they will be conducting an autopsy on the remains found in Wyoming to confirm whether or not they belong to Gabby. Police also resumed their search for Laundrie, this time on the Venice side of Carlton Reserve.
  • September 21 - The FBI announced the body found in Wyoming was identified as Gabby's. The cause of death was not yet revealed.
  • September 21 - The Teton County Coroner's office said Gabby's official cause of death was still pending but the initial manner of death is homicide.
  • September 22 - Police continue to scour Carlton Reserve for a trace of Laundrie but yield no leads. A specialist dive team is called in to assist with the hunt.
  • September 23 - Officials announced a federal arrest warrant for Brian was issued.
  • September 24 - Gabby's father announced his daughter's funeral will be held on Sunday, September 26.

‘BLOW A MILLION BUCKS’

Hadsell runs the volunteer Peace River K9 Search and Rescue Association in Sarasota, and claims to have led 160 missions questioned the steep cost to find Laundrie in the swampland. 

“To see them blow more than a million bucks out here on this guy, is just like what the heck?' he told the Daily Mail, adding the resources could be spent elsewhere. 

“A lot of other people who end up missing need that money and need that help,” he said. 

“And they just don't get it. And that is chaffing me on this whole thing.”

'IT'S LIKE JURASSIC PARK'

The chances that Laundrie survived undetected in the wild reserve that lies 13 miles from his home “is very slim” despite the young man’s claims of survival and hiking skills. 

He told the Daily Mail: “I'm very familiar with that reserve. 

“It's like searching in Jurassic Park.” 

He added: “It is a hostile and challenging environment - utterly brutal. 

“It's full of alligators, aggressive and highly-poisonous snakes, just about everything.

“There are lots of things in there that want to eat you or just kill you.

“Even if Laundrie was an experienced survivalist, the chances of him being able to stay out there this long are.

“It would be extremely hard to survive as long as this search has been going on. 

"I doubt he would survive more than two to three days because of the dangers of the swamp, the alligators, the snakes and the bugs.”

The threat of a person being able to fend off the alligators and snakes in the reserve is real. 

“There are plenty of gators, but it's the snakes that are an even bigger danger. 

“There are so many Water Moccasins and they are particularly nasty. 

“They just attack everything. If you're on their turf they're going to come after you and pick a fight.

“That's why you see most everybody in this search sticking to the swamp buggies.

"It's because they don't want to get out into the water as there's too much danger.”

LAUNDRIE LOOKALIKES?

Speculation has run wilde about where Laundrie may be hiding out. 

Some have theorized he’s hiding on the Appalachian Trail.

A subsequent search in Okaloosa County led authorities to a dead end.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office investigated reports of a man matching Laundrie's description appearing on a trail camera, but on September 23, they confirmed it was not him.

A series of possible sightings have popped up from multiple states including Florida and Alabama.

Alabama police have fielded over a dozen tips alone on Monday but none of the calls yielded any concrete leads.

The sightings also have had Laundrie taking a stroll nearly two blocks from his parents' North Port home last Friday.

A passerby snapped a cellphone image of the bald male, who was wearing flip-flops, a grey t-shirt, sunglasses, and wearing earbuds.

North Port Police said that the man in the photo has a tattoo on his left arm, unlike Laundrie - although they admitted that it looked like him.

A series of alleged sightings regarding Laundrie have circulated on social media in recent weeks.

A flight attendant believes she may have spotted Laundrie at a hotel in Canada.

In a video posted to TikTok on Wednesday, user @cwlynn said she was staying overnight at a hotel in Toronto on September 20 when she went downstairs to pick up a food delivery.

She said she spotted a man whom she thought closely resembled Laundrie.

The flight attendant described the man as appearing "flustered" as he walked out of the hotel.

The image shows a balding while man with prominent facial hair and a facemask strapped around his chin. 

The individual pictured also appears to be similar in build to Laundrie. 

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