BRIAN Laundrie’s “illegal bank card use” provided cops with clues about his movements after his fiancé Gabby Petito was last seen alive, according to arrest documents.
Her remains were discovered near the Spread Creek Dispersed Campground in Bridger-Teton National Forest in western WY and the coroner said it was a homicide, without revealing how she died.
But Laundrie allegedly used an “unauthorized” Capitol One debit card “in the District of Wyoming and elsewhere” before returning home from the “van life” camping trip without his girlfriend.
He allegedly swiped the Capital One debit card, running up a $1,000 balance, from August 31 through September 1, according to the indictment, which was amended to note that he allegedly violated a specific statute.
He is accused of using the “unauthorized access device” to “obtain anything of value aggregating $1,000 or more,” which is why there is a warrant out for his arrest.
This money trail gave cops with a number of clues as police continue to search the sprawling T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve refuge for Petito’s missing fiance today, who supposedly went to hike there last week.
The news release from the FBI revealed that Laundrie’s alleged spending activities happened following Gabby’s death were significant to the case in terms of the warrant for his arrest.
“While this warrant allows law enforcement to arrest Mr. Laundrie, the FBI and our partners across the country continue to investigate the facts and circumstances of Ms. Petito’s homicide,” FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider said.
“We urge individuals with knowledge of Mr. Laundrie’s role in this matter or his current whereabouts to contact the FBI No piece of information is too small or inconsequential to support our efforts in this investigation.”
Read our Brian Laundrie live blog for the very latest news and updates…
Laundrie’s attorney responded to the indictment and stressed that it’s not directly related to Petito’s “actual demise” but for focusing on activities that occurred after she died.
“It is my understanding that the arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie is related to activities occurring after the death of Gabby Petito and not related to her actual demise,’ Steve Bertolino told the Daily Mail.
“The FBI is focusing on locating Brian and when that occurs the specifics of the charges covered under the indictment will be addressed in the proper forum.”
Laundrie hasn’t been heard from or seen since last Tuesday, according to his family, who claims he left home to go hiking in Carlton Reserve, near Venice, Florida but never returned. He is a “person of interest” in the case.
On Thursday, a source close to the embattled Laundrie family told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that the missing 23-year-old left his parents’ Florida home last Tuesday he did so without his cell phone and wallet.
The same source told the anchor that Laundrie’s parents worried that their son might do harm to himself.
Meanwhile, authorities, using divers, tracking dogs and helicopters, are still hunting Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve wilderness area near North Port since Friday, where his parents said he had gone on a hike.
Police and other law enforcement agencies have been combing the alligator-infested wilderness for clues using drones and bloodhounds as the search for Laundrie enters its second week.
Gabby’s last text from her phone was released by the FBI and uses the word “Stan” which internet sleuths claim is a codeword for “danger”.
In the August 27 text to her parents, the vlogger wrote: “Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls.”
The Teton County Coroner D. Brent Blue said initial findings were that Petito died as a result of homicide but the cause is still pending final autopsy results.
He returned home to Florida alone in the couple’s van on September 1, around two months into the couple’s planned four-month cross-country road trip.
Laundrie immediately retained an attorney and refused to cooperate with the police.
Gabby’s mother said she pleaded with Laundrie for answers about where her daughter was but received no reply. She then reported Gabby missing to the police on September 11.
Three days later, on September 14, Laundrie vanished from his parent’s home after telling them he was going hiking in the 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve.
Laundrie’s parents told police they only grew concerned between 24 to 48 hours after their son failed to return from the hike.
They claim they drove up to the 25,000-acre park, spotted Laundrie’s car, and drove it home after allegedly finding a note on the windshield left by police asking for it to be removed from the area.
Brian’s parents didn’t report him missing until September 17.
Since then, officers have deployed drones and boats as well as ATVs to pinpoint the swampy terrain for any sign of Laundrie, but so far have not been able to track him down.
Gabby Petito timeline
Gabby Petito, 22, was last seen on August 24, leaving a hotel in Utah. Here is a timeline of Gabby Petito’s disappearance:
- June 2021 – Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie set off on a cross-country trip across the US.
- July 4 – Gabby posts photos of herself barefoot in Gove County, Kansas.
- July 8 – Gabby posts photos of herself at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
- July 18 – Gabby and Brian post photos of themselves at Utah’s Zion National Park.
- August 12 – Body camera footage was released in September showing an encounter Brian and Gabby had with police in Utah. Police confirmed that no significant injuries were reported.
- August 19 – Gabby and Brian post a video on their YouTube channel chronicling their trip. The video receives more than 200,000 views.
- August 24 – Gabby is spotted leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- August 25 – Gabby Facetimes her mom, Nichole Schmidt, for the final time. In a later police report, Schmidt said her conversations with her daughter revealed “more and more tension” between her and Brian.
- August 25 – Gabby also posts her last Instagram. No location is given.
- August 27 – Gabby is seen for what’s believed to be the final time. Witnesses claim they saw Brian in an explosive argument with staff at a restaurant in Jackson Hole, leaving Gabby in tears.
- August 27 – Four hours later, travel bloggers driving through Grand Teton National Park drive past the couple’s van “abandoned” on a dirt road.
- September 1 – Brian returns home to Florida without Gabby.
- September 11 – Gabby’s parents report her missing to Suffolk County police.
- September 14 – Brian’s family issues a statement saying he has retained an attorney and will not be cooperating with investigators.
- September 14 – Brian is allegedly last seen by his family. He reportedly told them he was going hiking in Cartlon Reserve but failed to return.
- September 15 – Florida’s North Port police announce Brian is a person of interest in the case. He is not charged with any crime.
- September 16 – Utah police release body camera footage of the police encounter with Brian and Gabby.
- September 17 – Brian’s parents say they have not seen their son in a couple of days and report him missing.
- September 18 – Police announce they were searching Carlton Reserve in Florida for Brian. Police announce they have not found anything.
- September 19 – Authorities in Wyoming say they found a body in Grand Teton National Park. The FBI announces the body was believed to be Gabby’s but a full forensic identification needs to be completed first to confirm.
- September 20 – Police execute a search warrant on Laundrie’s home, seizing his silver Mustang and a hard drive that may contain “evidence relevant to proving that a felony has been committed.”
- September 21 – Officials announce they will be conducting an autopsy on the remains found in Wyoming to confirm whether or not they belong to Gabby. Police also resumed their search for Laundrie, this time on the Venice side of Carlton Reserve.
- September 21 – The FBI announced the body found in Wyoming was identified as Gabby’s. The cause of death was not yet revealed.
- September 21 – The Teton County Coroner’s office said Gabby’s official cause of death was still pending but the initial manner of death is homicide.
- September 22 – Police continue to scour Carlton Reserve for a trace of Laundrie but yield no leads. A specialist dive team is called in to assist with the hunt.
- September 23 – Officials announced a federal arrest warrant for Brian was issued.
- September 24 – Gabby’s father announced his daughter’s funeral will be held on Sunday, September 26.
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