Federal and local authorities involved in the Florida search for Brian Laundrie will be assisted by a cadaver dog as the whereabouts of Gabby Petito’s fiancé remain a mystery.
The FBI and local search and rescue teams have scoured a swampy, alligator-infested area near the Laundrie family’s home in North Port, Florida, hoping to find Laundrie.
Now they are being helped by K9 Diesel, a cadaver dog provided to them by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, whose headquarters is about a 90-minute drive from the search, according to Fox 13 TV.
A spokesman for the sheriff’s office said the agency is the only one with a dog trained to search for human remains.
K9 Diesel is a three year old Labrador Retriever certified to detect human remains. He started working for PCSO in July 2019.
K9 Diesel, a cadaver dog supplied by the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office, will help search for Brian Laundrie
FBI and local search and rescue teams have scoured a swampy, alligator-infested area near the Laundrie family’s home in North Port, Florida, hoping to find Laundrie (seen left with murdered fiancé Gabby Petito)
K9 Diesel is a three year old Labrador Retriever certified to detect human remains. He started working for PCSO in July 2019
The image above shows K9 Diesel joining the search in the Carlton Reserve on Thursday
K9 Diesel is the only K9 fully integrated with PSO’s Forensics Unit and is one of the few forensically integrated K9s in the country.
That means anything K9 Diesel finds will be saved immediately, as there’s no need to wait for a forensic team to arrive at the scene to process the evidence.
Meanwhile, several police vehicles were spotted at one of the entrances to Carlton Reserve on Thursday.
According to WFLA-TV, this week marked the first show of activity there.
Two units of PCSO were among the law enforcement agencies seen in the reservation on Thursday. PCSO sent two K9 units to the area at the request of the FBI and the North Port Police Department, as well as the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office.
“We’ve sent HRD (Human Remains Detection) K9s a few times and patrol K9s (who are also trained to find missing people) a few times,” a PCSO spokesperson told WFLA-TV.
“For greater insight, we are one of the few law enforcement agencies in Florida to have HRD K9s in-house, so we are often asked to assist in that aspect in the state.”
Wednesday marked a month since Laundrie’s parents told authorities they had last seen their son alive. Laundry was reported missing on September 17.
According to the parents, Laundrie went hiking in the Carlton Reserve area on September 14.
Meanwhile, several police vehicles were spotted at one of the entrances to Carlton Reserve on Thursday
The day before he went missing, law enforcement officials said they considered him a stakeholder in Gabby Petito’s disappearance.
A Wyoming coroner announced Tuesday that Petito, the “van life” girl who traveled with Laundrie on a cross-country trip they documented on social media, died after being strangled to death.
Petito, 22, died three to four weeks before her body was found Sept. 19 near an undeveloped campground along the border of Grand Teton National Park in remote northern Wyoming, coroner Dr. Brent Blue in Teton County during a press conference.
Blue declined to say more about the autopsy or the case in general, saying he was prevented by Wyoming law that limits what coroners can release.
Petito had been on a cross-country trip with Laundrie, visiting Colorado, Utah, and other states. She was reported missing by her parents on September 11 after failing to respond to calls and texts for days while the couple visited national parks in the West.
Blue previously classified Petito’s death as homicide – meaning her death was caused by another person – but had not disclosed how she was killed pending further autopsy results.
A “detailed analysis” led to his conclusion that Petito had been strangled, Blue said.
“Nothing is clear in a case like this,” he said.
Blue said little more about Petito’s physical condition — including whether she might have been strangled directly by someone’s hands, a rope, or some other object — but noted when asked that she wasn’t pregnant.
However, the three to four weeks her body was believed to have been in the wilderness placed her around the August 27-30 period. Investigators believe Petito and Laundrie had traveled to the area.
Petito’s case has sparked a renewed call for people to pay more attention to cases of missing Indigenous women and other people of color, with some commentators describing the intense coverage of her disappearance as “missing white woman syndrome.”
Wednesday marked a month since Laundrie’s parents told authorities they had last seen their son alive. Laundry was reported missing on September 17
The search for Laundrie has sparked a frenzy, with TV personalities like Duane Chapman – known as Dog the Bounty Hunter – and longtime America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh trying to track him down.
Petito and Laundrie posted online about their journey in a white Ford Transit van converted into a camper.
They got into a physical altercation in Moab, Utah, on Aug. 12, which led to a police stoppage, which ended with the police deciding to separate the feuding couple for the night.
No charges were filed and no serious injuries were reported.
Investigators searched for Laundrie in Florida and also searched his parents’ home in North Port, about 55 miles south of Sarasota.
Federal officials in Wyoming charged Laundrie last month with unauthorized use of a debit card, alleging that he used a Capital One Bank card and a person’s personal identification number to make unauthorized withdrawals or charges worth more than $1,000 during the period when Petito went missing.
They didn’t say whose card belonged to.
Asked about the coroner’s determination, Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino noted in a statement that his client is only facing charges of fraud in the case.
“At the moment Brian is still missing and when he is found we will deal with the fraud charge against him,” Bertolino said.