Authorities search for Brian Laundrie 500 miles from home following Facebook tip

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Florida authorities searching for the boyfriend of Gabby Petito said Tuesday that someone bearing his likeness was caught on a deer camera hiking through the wilderness.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office said it is looking into reports that Brian Laundrie was spotted in the area.

“We are aware and are actively checking it out,” spokeswoman Michele Nicholson said. “At this point, there is no confirmation.”

The announcement follows a Facebook post on Monday by a user who claimed he saw a man resembling Laundrie carrying a backpack around 6:17 a.m. in Baker, Florida, about 500 miles away from Laundrie’s home in North Port.

“I’m not saying this is the guy but whoever was on my trail camera this morning in Baker, Fl strongly fits the description of Brian Laundrie, authorities have been contacted but people in North West Florida area be on the look out,” Sam Bass wrote on Facebook.

Laundrie is a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance and has been missing for nearly a week. His parents told authorities he left for a hike at the Carlton Reserve with a backpack but never returned.

Investigators searched for him Tuesday at the 25,000-acre nature reserve near his family’s Florida home. Authorities focused on a specific part of the reserve and adjoining lands.

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The search comes as police try to piece together what happened to the young couple on a cross-country road trip to national parks.

Laundrie was the last known person to have seen Petito alive. He returned from the couple’s trip to his family’s home on Sept. 1, but he declined to talk to authorities about Petito’s disappearance.

The couple left for the trip on July 22 from New York and made stops in Colorado and Utah. Petito was last seen on Aug. 24 when she and Laundrie checked out of a hotel in Salt Lake City. Her mother, Nicole Schmidt, said she last heard from her daughter on Aug. 25, when Petito told her they were headed to Wyoming.

Schmidt said her daughter seemed “excited” about their next adventure but that she began to worry when Petito stopped communicating.

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“A few days is one thing when you’re out camping, but when it starts to become seven, eight, nine, 10 days, that’s a problem,” Schmidt said.

Officials announced Sunday that they found what they believe to be Petito’s remain in Wyoming near where the couple had last been seen.

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Tags: News, Florida, Missing Person, Utah, National Parks, Crime, Colorado, New York

Original Author: Barnini Chakraborty

Original Location: Authorities search for Brian Laundrie 500 miles from home following Facebook tip