COPS are scouring a ‘vast’ reserve in the Sarasota County as they desperately search for Gabby Petito's boyfriend Brian Laundrie.
The 23-year-old, who has been named as a "person of interest" in Gabby's disappearance – has not been seen since Tuesday.
And today authorities believe that may be located in the Mabry Carlton Reserve – a 24,565-acre wildlife habitat in Sarasota County.
At 10:36am EST on Saturday morning the Port Police tweeted: “The North Port Police Department, FBI, and agency partners are currently conducting a search (of the reserve)”
“His family says they believe he entered the area earlier this week. More details when available.”
They confirmed that are using dogs using clothing taken from Laundrie’s home in order to help a team of dogs track him down over the "vast area."
Cops had began the search on Friday night after they exited the swarmed home of Laundrie's parents in North Port, Florida where the 23-year-old was believed to be residing.
North Port Police Public Information Officer Josh Taylor told the New York Post: "His family has reported that they have not seen Brian as of Tuesday."
And earlier, Laundrie's attorney said: "Be advised, the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie are currently unknown.
"The FBI is currently at the Laundrie residence removing property to assist in locating Brian."
The update prompted accusations from Gabbie’s family that the Laindried was of "hiding."
"All of Gabby’s family want the world to know that Brian is not missing. He is hiding. Gabby is missing", a statement released late Friday from the missing Long Island woman's relatives read.
Read our Gabby Petito live blog for the very latest news and updates…
The latest shock development comes as it emerged:
- Laundrie allegedly hitch-hiked alone with a TikToker after Gabby disappeared.
- Gabby last called her family just miles from an infamous 'zone of death'.
- A body language expert said Gabby's behaviour in police bodycam footage may hold clues.
The police officers were seen going into the Laundrie family home as protesters stood outside yelling: "Justice for Gabby" and "Bring Gabby Home."
One officer reportedly carried an evidence bag inside. Shortly after, the officers made their way outside and into a Ford Mustang convertible parked in the driveway, local journalist Brian Entin reported.
When officers left the Laundrie household, they reportedly didn't take anyone with them.
Laundrie's disappearance comes after his 22-year-old fiance went missing on a cross-country road trip they took together over the summer.
Laundrie is believed to have driven home alone in Gabby's white Ford Transit van to Florida on September 1 – but Gabby was not reported missing until September 11, weeks after her family had last heard from her.
Petito was last seen on August 24 in Salt Lake City, Utah, before traveling to at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on August 25, where she made a final call to her family before a planned a trip to Yellowstone National Park.
A later message from Petito's phone to her family said she had poor signal in Yeosemtie, California – although it's not clear whether she sent the message or not.
NOT TALKING TO COPS
On Tuesday, Laundrie released a statement through his lawyer saying his family would remain "in the background" as the investigation unfolds.
"This is an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family," the statement said.
"I understand that a search has been organized for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. On behalf of the Laundrie family it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is re-united with her family.
"On the advice of counsel the Laundrie family is remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment."
On Thursday, Laundrie's sister, Cassie Laundrie, spoke out on ABC's GMA and said: "All I want is for her to come home safe and found."
Gabby's dad, Joe Petito, took to Instagram Friday night to reveal he just had a "break down."
"I grab a bottle of whiskey, and took a walk in the rain. I cried, a lot. There’s a chance I won’t see her again. I won’t hear hear voice on New Years, or hug her on Christmas. I broke down," he captioned a photo of his daughter.
"But then I stopped feeling sorry for myself and remembered there’s a job that’s not done. There’s a good chance we bring her home safe. So a picked myself, and I am going back to work. Don’t lose Hope."
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