Dive team called in to assist with search for Brian Laundrie

Gabby Petito

(Eagle 8 HD/WFLA photo)

NORTH PORT, Fla. (ABC4) – Authorities in Florida are taking to the large bodies of water covering an expansive nature preserve as they continue to search for Brian Laundrie, a person of interest and the fiance of Gabby Petito, who was found dead in Wyoming on Sunday.

ABC4 affiliate WFLA reports the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office SURF – Sheriff’s Underwater Recovery Force – team has arrived at the Carlton Reserve to assist with the search for Laundrie. SURF Team members are divers called in to search for evidence in bodies of water. The Carlton Reserve, covering 25,000 acres, is largely underwater.

The dive team does not mean anything has been found at this time, North Port Police tell WFLA. Instead, it is just part of the overall search process.

The FBI and other law enforcement agencies have been searching the Carlton Reserve for days now after Laundrie was reported missing by his family on Sept. 17. He is the only person of interest in the death of 22-year-old Gabby Petito, who was found dead in Wyoming on Sept. 19.

Florida authorities say their search of the Carlton Reserve is a challenging one – North Port Police have called the reserve an “unforgiving location” with not only flooding on some of the hiking and biking trails but alligators and snakes posing safety risks.

While some FBI agents are helping to search the Carlton Reserve, others are asking for information from anyone who utilized the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in Wyoming between the dates of August 27-30, 2021, who may have had contact with Petito or Laundrie. If you have any information, you are asked to submit it to the FBI online at tips.fbi.gov, or by phone to 1-800-CALL-FBI or 303-629-7171.

For continuing coverage of this investigation, click here.

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