(CSU)Hundreds of local and federal cops have scoured the swamps of Florida’s Manasota Key for the 23-year-old following his disappearance, then Gabby Petito’s body being discovered in Wyoming. The search for the Carlton Reserves will resume Saturday, according to authorities.
According to a source close to the family, Laundrie, who fled from his home on September 14 with his backpack on, left his phone and wallet behind and told his parents he was going to reserve. On September 17, the police were informed of Laundrie’s departure, according to authorities.
This week, a team of personnel searched the region using drones and bloodhounds, according to North Port Police Department spokesperson Josh Taylor. A team of underwater investigators from the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office was called in midweek, according to the sheriff’s office.
“We’re looking through forests, bodies of water, and swamps,” Police Commander Joe Fussell stated in a video posted online Friday. “and we’ll utilize all of our resources to be able to do that. We have air units, drones, swamp buggies, airboats, ATVs, as well as foot officers.” Tim and Laundrie set out for a cross-country adventure in June, during which they visited national parks. They chronicled their travels using the hashtag #VanLife on social media, but those postings abruptly halted in late August.
Laundrie went home with their van on September 1. Her family was unable to contact her on September 11, and she was reported missing. She was discovered dead in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest eight days later near a camping site. Laundrie is wanted on an arrest warrant issued Thursday for alleged use of “unauthorized devices” in the days after Petito’s death, according to a news release.
“The warrant doesn’t change anything for us,” said Fussell. “We’re working just as hard to locate him now as we were on day one.” According to videos uploaded by North Port police, the environment is tough with murky water, muddy roads, and dense vegetation. “Rough is an understatement,” Taylor said of the conditions in the preserve on Thursday.
“First and foremost, we’re focusing on areas of greater likelihood,” he said. “On Saturday and Sunday, our efforts will be concentrated in these areas.” Another person claims she gave a ride to Laundrie hitchhiking in August. More allegations are emerging of encounters between Laundrie and law enforcement in the reserve as they search for him.
“I picked up Laundrie not far from the Jackson Lake Dam on August 29, around 6:15 p.m., and gave him a ride to the Spread Creek dispersed camping area, where Gabby’s remains were discovered,” said Norma Jean Jalovec, who is a seasonal resident of Wyoming.
Laundry was hitchhiking, according to police. She got into the passenger seat of her Toyota 4-Runner.
Laundrie supposedly informed her that he and his fiancée had a travel blog, that she was working on the blog in their van at the camping area, and that he’d been walking along the Snake River embankment for a few days.
When they reached Spread Creek, however, she had Laundry drop her off at the entrance before going to the campsite. She said she’d offered to take him further a couple of times, but he wanted to be dropped off at the entrance. Laundrie subsequently offered her petrol money, but she refused.
According to Jalovec, she immediately contacted the FBI after seeing a string of videos posted on TikTok by Miranda Baker, who claimed to have picked up Laundrie hitchhiking and dropped him at Jackson Lake Dam.
In the end, Baker claimed she put Laundrie down at 6:09 p.m., and Jalovec says she retrieved him a few minutes later. “I’m pleased I was able to assist in the investigation that proved he was at Spread Creek at a certain time on August 29,” Jalovec told CSU.
CSU was unable to independently verify Baker’s claims because the CSU had not been granted access to the police report. According to North Port police, Baker spoke with them before posting the videos on TikTok.
The vanishing of Petito, and the subsequent effort to locate Laundrie, has drawn a tremendous amount of national attention as well as provided more focus to other missing persons in the United States. Since the identification of Petito, vigils have been held on every corner from Salt Lake City to New York.
Residents of Blue Point, New York — Petito’s birthplace on Long Island – lit candles in a vigil to show support for her family on Friday.
The people behind “Light the Night For Gabby Petito” want similar events to spread across Long Island, Candles were provided, as well as a $20 contribution request with the money going to the Petito family of CSU.
According to The Daily Sun, a candle lighting and butterfly release ceremony will be held Saturday evening in North Port in front of its city hall. A public memorial service for Petito will be held in Holbrook on Long Island on Sunday afternoon, according to Moloney’s Holbrook Funeral Home.
Her funeral will be held Sunday, according to an attorney for the Petito family, who confirmed that she would have a burial on Sunday. The family has asked for donations to be made to the future Gabby Petito Foundation in lieu of flowers, according To Stafford’s statement.