Law enforcement officials issued an arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie, days after he went missing and the body of Gabby Petitio was found, FBI officials said Thursday.
The FBI urged people with information to come forward. Laundrie, without authorization, allegedly used a debit card and PIN to buy more than $1,000 worth of items between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, according to the indictment.
“While this arrest 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,” the FBI said.
The attorney for Laundrie’s family quickly noted the arrest warrant is not for Petito’s death.
“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,” the attorney said. “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.”
Search teams found nothing of note Wednesday at a Florida wilderness park where they have spent days looking for Laundrie.
The search resumed Wednesday morning at the 24,000-acre (9,700-hectare) Carlton Reserve park and ended just before dark, North Port police spokesperson Joshua Taylor said. Investigators say Laundrie’s parents told them he had gone there after returning home without Petito on Sept. 1.
Petito, 22, was reported missing Sept. 11 by her parents after she did not respond to calls and texts for several days while the couple visited parks in the West. Her body was discovered Sunday at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
Teton County Coroner Brent Blue classified Petito’s death as a homicide — meaning her death was caused by another person — but did not disclose how she was killed pending further autopsy results. Laundrie, 23, is not charged with any crime but is considered a person of interest in the case.
With online sleuths and theories multiplying by the day, the FBI and police have been deluged with tips about possible Laundrie sightings. Taylor, the North Port spokesperson, said none have so far panned out. He also batted down rumors that Laundrie had been captured Tuesday.
“These reports are unfortunately false. Please rest assured that when Brian is found, we will be more than happy to let everyone know,” Taylor said in an email.
Petito and Laundrie grew up together in Long Island, New York, but moved in recent years to North Port, where his parents live. Their home, about 35 miles (55 kilometers) south of Sarasota, was searched by investigators earlier this week and a Ford Mustang driven by Laundrie’s mother was towed from the driveway. Authorities believe Laundrie drove that car to the Carlton Reserve before disappearing.