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Rancher doubts Gabby Petito’s boyfriend is in a wildlife sanctuary as the search is scaled back

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An experienced farmer has cast doubt on that Gabby Petito’s friend is in an alligator-infested wildlife sanctuary where authorities have been searching.

The comments came as North Port Police announced that the search for Brain Laundrie would be scaled back in the coming days.

Florida rancher Alan McEwen, who lives outside the Carlton Reservation, has spent 30 years exploring the area and said it’s not a place where people can live easily.

“There is no survival here, I don’t know how to say it,” he told Fox News.

McEwen has assisted police in the search for 23-year-old Laundrie, who was reported missing by his parents on September 17 – two days after he was identified as having a stake in Petito’s disappearance.

The couple had been traveling around the country in a van for weeks, recording their adventures online before Petito, 22, disappeared.

Her remains were found in a Wyoming National Park on Sept. 19, and her death is considered murder.

An experienced farmer has raised doubts that Gabby Petito’s friend Brian Laundrie (pictured) is in an alligator-infested wildlife sanctuary where authorities have been searching. Pictured: Laundromat speaks to Utah police during a traffic stop 13 days before Petito’s disappearance

Gabby Petito disappeared during a cross country road trip with Laundrie.  Her remains were found on September 19th

Gabby Petito disappeared during a cross country road trip with Laundrie. Her remains were found on September 19th

Florida rancher Alan McEwen, who lives outside the Carlton Reservation (pictured), has spent 30 years exploring the area and said it's not a place where people can live easily.

Florida rancher Alan McEwen, who lives outside the Carlton Reservation (pictured), has spent 30 years exploring the area and said it’s not a place where people can live easily. “There is no survival here, I don’t know how to say it,” he said [File photo]

Whether the avid hiker could have survived for weeks in the 25,000-acre swampy reserve has been the subject of much speculation.  Pictured: Reporters at the entrance to the Carlton Reserve [File photo]

Whether the avid hiker could have survived for weeks in the 25,000-acre swampy reserve has been the subject of much speculation. Pictured: Reporters at the entrance to the Carlton Reserve [File photo]

Laundrie’s parents suggested that he may have gone to the nature reserve, which he was known to visit, which is about 15 miles from his home.

Whether the avid hiker could have survived for weeks in the 25,000-acre swampy reserve has been the subject of much speculation.

“I’ve been in the woods all my life, both indoors and out…I’ve learned a lot in my life, and one thing I know is that no one will survive there on foot for two weeks,” McEwen told Fox.

In the nearly two weeks since Laundrie is said to have entered the reserve, heavy rainfall has flooded the area with medium-deep water.

“Unless he’s got a duck ass and can float, he’s not there,” McEwen said.

The rancher also pointed out the dangers of alligators, mosquitoes and other wildlife in the reserve, which is home to panthers, black bears, wild boars and deadly snakes.

The terrain is also treacherous, according to McEwen, who said the thick brush makes it easy even for experienced outdoorsmen to accidentally step into a ditch or off a ledge.

However, McEwen believes it is unlikely that Laundrie would have died on the reservation, and says his body has since been found.

“Everything that’s dead in the woods, you’re going to look up, you’ll see buzzards flying like crazy,” he said.

‘No buzzards, no body is my theory. And I didn’t see a buzzard flying.’

McEwen’s assessment came when Josh Taylor, a spokesman for the North Port Police, announced that the department would be scaling back its search for Laundrie.

“The FBI is now leading the search. I’m told it will be scaled back and targeted based on intelligence. Hopefully the water will go down in areas that are currently difficult to access,” he told Fox News.

Over the weekend, new audio surfaced showing that Utah police had been told that Laundrie had beaten Petito before being apprehended on Aug. 12.

The sound appears to contradict previous reports that officers in Moab City, Utah, were unaware of a call from a witness who claimed to have seen Laundrie punch Petito in their white Ford van before driving away.

“RP (reporting party) states that a man hit a woman, domestically,” the dispatcher told police around 4:38 p.m. local time, according to the audio, first obtained by Fox 13. “He got into a white Ford Transit -van, has a black ladder on the back, Florida sign.’

An officer asks for more information about the witness and is again told that Petito was allegedly hit.

‘Phone number is’ [redacted], name is [redacted],’ the coordinator replies at 4:42 p.m. ‘I’m not sure’ [inaudible]”But the woman who was hit, both of them, the man and the woman, both got into the van and drove north.”

The new information comes as Moab police announced an independent investigation Thursday into the agents’ handling of the alleged domestic dispute, about a month before Petito was found dead.

Neither the police nor city officials said whether the officers who responded knew they were dealing with a possible domestic violence incident when they apprehended the couple.

But they treated Petito as the primary aggressor in bodycam footage of the August 12 incident, after Laundrie was seen to have wounds to his face.

New audio from the broadcast indicates that the Moab City, Utah police officers who detained Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie on Aug. 12 may have been aware that a witness claimed to have seen Petito be beaten, but that they neither of them have been arrested.

Gabby Petito during the traffic stop

New audio from the broadcast indicates that the Moab City, Utah police officers who detained Gabby Petito (right) and her fiancé Brian Laundrie on Aug. 12 may have known a witness claimed to have seen Petito hit, but they have none of them. both arrested. The police stop was recorded on the officers’ body cameras (photo)

Utah law requires police to make an arrest or report if they believe domestic violence has occurred.

Neither Petito nor Laundrie were arrested. Instead, they were separated for the night in an attempt to calm the situation before they could continue on their way.

On Sunday, hundreds of mourners packed a Long Island funeral home to bid farewell to Petito.

“The whole planet knows this woman’s name,” her father Joe Petito said, standing in front of a gold urn in the Moloney Holbrook Funeral Home.

The detached chapel was decorated with bouquets of flowers and photo and video montages of his daughter.

They showed her life growing up in Blue Point, Long Island, including a photo of Petito as a little girl with her tiny handprint on a piece of paper. Behind the urn was a more recent photo of her standing at the base of a cave.

“She always wanted to do things, whether it was diving with my uncle, or myself, or hiking the Appalachian Trail, surfing the sand dunes in Colorado,” the father said.

“She had some wild experiences that I only wish I could experience.

“To see that kind of joy that brought her, and the stones it took at such a young age,” he continued. “I’d like you to watch these videos and I want you to be inspired by them.”

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