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Police: Search for Brian Laundrie continues Tuesday

Gabby Petito's fiancé hasn't been seen in about a week since he returned to his North Port home without her.

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — UPDATE (Sept. 23, 2021): A federal arrest warrant was issued for Brian Laundrie following a grand jury indictment in connection with the Gabby Petito case. Click here for the latest information.

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The search for Gabby Petito's fiancé, Brian Laundrie, resumed Tuesday in the area he reportedly had last been, North Port police said.

He's a person of interest in Petito's disappearance amid what the department calls an FBI-led criminal investigation.

A police spokesperson says authorities will be searching for Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve where it was believed he went hiking about a week ago. 

"This time, moving in from the Venice side of the area, along with adjoining lands. A weekend ground search and aerial search Monday of the 25-thousand-acre preserve has yet to yield any answers, but we must press on," spokesperson Josh Taylor said.

"Please be aware, the Carlton Reserve is a vast and unforgiving location at times. It is currently waste deep in water in many areas. 

"This is dangerous work for the search crews as they are wading through gator and snake-infested swamps and flooded hiking and biking trails."

Authorities have been searching the Carlton Reserve on and off since Saturday. Laundrie's family told police they believed he entered the area earlier that week. This area covers more than 80 miles of hiking trails.

Nothing turned up over the weekend, and police on Monday confirmed they were ending "a major search" there given they "have exhausted all avenues in searching the grounds."  

The renewed search at the reserve continues as authorities in Alabama say they’ve gotten tips he’s been sighted in Alabama. Posts began circulating on social media claiming he was spotted more than 600 miles away, hitchhiking near a Walmart in Tillman’s Corner, Alabama, which is just outside of Mobile. 

Charlette Solis, a spokeswoman for the Mobile Police Department, told 10 Tampa Bay on Monday they received reports that someone who looked like Laundrie had been spotted in the area. That information, she said, has been sent to the FBI to verify.

The FBI has yet to confirm if any of the tips have been substantiated.

Laundrie has no known ties to the Mobile area.

Authorities on Sunday confirmed a body found in the section of Wyoming's Bridger-Teton National Forest matches the description of the 22-year-old Petito. An autopsy was done Tuesday.

The Teton County Coroner's Office's forensic examination determined the body belonged to Petito. Her death has been ruled a homicide.

The FBI announced Monday it executed a court-authorized search warrant at the Laundrie home that is related to the Petito investigation. Crime scene tape was spotted going up on the property, with investigators appearing to remove evidence from the house.

"No further details can be provided since this is an active and ongoing investigation," the agency's tweet read.

Laundrie's lawyer, Steven Bertolino, told 10 Tampa Bay he had no response to the morning's activity. As law enforcement and the Petito and Schmidt families await answers, Bertolino canceled a news conference originally set for 1 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 21, in New York.

Hours after arriving at the home, law enforcement towed Laundrie's silver Ford Mustang from the driveway.

Shortly before 6:30 p.m., the FBI announced it had concluded the search of the Laundrie home in North Port but declined to provide further details.

Earlier Monday, North Port police said they would not conduct a "major search" for Laundrie in the nearby Carlton Reserve where it was believed he had last been. 

Laundrie’s lawyer last week said Laundrie's whereabouts were "currently unknown." He proceeded to add that Laundrie was last seen by his parents the morning of Tuesday, Sept. 14.

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