Search crews will resume the manhunt for Brian Laundrie in Florida wetlands this weekend following the death of his fiancée Gabby Petito. Meanwhile, Petito’s family is preparing for her funeral set for Sunday.
The search in the 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve, a wilderness park in Sarasota County, comes after the FBI issued a federal arrest warrant Thursday over events that occurred following Petito’s death.
“We will be back out throughout the weekend. Focusing on areas of more likelihood across the Reserve,” the department said in a social media post.
Laundrie’s parents told investigators he went camping in the park on Sept. 14 after returning home from a cross-country trip to national parks without Petito on Sept. 1.
The search for Laundrie, who has been missing for more than a week, turned into a manhunt Thursday after a grand jury indicted him for alleged unauthorized use of a Capital One debit card and several accounts. The documents say he spent more than $1,000 but did not state who the cards or accounts belonged to.
The indictment released Thursday by the U.S. District of Wyoming also charges Laundrie with unauthorized access of a device and says he used the bank accounts without permission from about Aug. 30 through Sept. 1.
Laundrie is considered a person of interested in Petito’s homicide but has not been charged.
This week, a law firm that practices in North Port announced it is offering a $20,000 reward for information that leads directly to locating Laundrie. Boohoff Law, P.A., told Fox News it has already received a number of tips, which have been forwarded to law enforcement.
“We have an office in North Port, and our employees work and live there,” Tatiana Boohoff told the outlet Friday. “We serve clients there – and we want to do what we can to help find answers and get justice.”
Authorities said Thursday they were looking for Laundrie in a specific section of Carlton Reserve, marking the first time the search has been narrowed. More than 75 law enforcement personnel from 16 agencies joined the search.
The park includes thousands of acres of swampy, subtropical terrain and wildlife including alligators, snakes, bobcats and coyotes. There’s more than 100 miles of hiking, biking and horseback riding trails, camping areas and rivers.
The reserve is very wet and has little food or safe drinking water, said local survival expert Mark Burrow. Black bears, panthers and clouds of gnawing insects also populate the reserve, he added.
“If he’s down there in the Carlton Reserve, he’s living in hell,” Burrow said.
Authorities are using a specialized diver unit, dogs, drones and ATV vehicles to search the park.
“It is currently waist deep in water in many areas,” North Port police said in a Facebook post. “This is dangerous work for the search crews as they are wading through gator- and snake-infested swamps and flooded hiking and biking trails.”
In July, Petito and Laundrie embarked on a road trip that they documented on social media as a romantic adventure. The trip was set to end in Oregon next month, but Laundrie returned alone to the couple’s Florida home, about 35 miles south of Sarasota. Petito’s parents reported her missing 10 days later.
Her body was found Sunday at a campground near Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park and preliminary results from an autopsy concluded her death was a homicide. The Teton County coroner provided no specific cause of death pending final autopsy results.