A law enforcement underwater dive team arrived at a swampy, 25,000-acre Florida nature reserve on Wednesday in search of Brian Laundrie, a day after human remains were identified as those of his fiancé of Gabby Petito.
The 23-year-old person of interest in Petito’s death told his parents he was heading to the Carlton Reserve in Venice, Florida, on Friday and has been missing ever since.
A team of about 10 divers from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s office were requested for the dive operation Wednesday morning, CNN reported.
According to the police agency, the arrival of the dive team ‘does not mean anything has been found. It’s part of the overall search process’.
The Sheriff’s Underwater Recovery Force (SURF) is made up of highly trained water specialists who are called upon to ‘search for evidence of crimes and victims of drowning, water accidents and foul play’, the Sarasota sheriff’s department website says.
As the search continues, it’s unclear where Laundrie is, and what condition he may be in.
‘If he down there in the Carlton Reserve, he’s living in hell,’ survival expert local to North Port, Florida Mark Burrow told the Sarasota Herald Tribune.
Police shared Tuesday night that a massive search of the nature reserve turned up nothing for the third day, with plans for the investigation to continue into Wednesday.
While the search for Laundrie remains unsuccessful, officials confirmed Tuesday evening that the remains found on Sunday in a remote section of Grand Teton National Park were those of Gabrielle Venora Petito, 22.
Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue made an initial determination that she died by homicide.
Following confirmation of her death, the lawyer for Laundrie’s family, Steven Bertolino, issued a brief statement to People: ‘May Gabby rest in peace.’
Laundrie returned to his parents’ North Port, Florida home without his fiancé on September 1, according to police. Unable to reach their daughter for 10 days, Petito was reported missing by her parents on September 11, a week before Laundrie himself went missing.
The FBI is additionally seeking information from anyone who utilized the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area between August 27 and 30, who may have had contact with Petito or Laundrie, or who may have seen their van.
‘Mr Brian Laundrie has been named a person of interest. Anyone with information concerning Mr Laundrie’s role in this matter or his current whereabouts should contact the FBI,’ FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider said in a statement Tuesday.
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