Law enforcement tape was seen stretched across one of the entrances to the large Sarasota County nature reserve, where the massive hunt for Brian Laundrie has been focused.
On Friday morning, Oct. 15, one of the entrances to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, which leads to the Carlton Reserve, was taped off. Officers then traveled into a wooded area about a mile from the reserve off of Tropicaire Boulevard entrance in the afternoon, New York Post reports.
When WFLA’s Allyson Henning questioned about the officers, a North Port police official said they were “training and searching.”
Since the search for the 23-year-old fugitive—the single person of interest in the Gabby Petito killing case—began on Sept. 18, the station observed that it was the first time it had seen police use yellow “POLICE LINE DO NOT CROSS” tape at the reserve.
WFLA said a North Port police SUV could be seen just beyond the tape, while other law enforcement vehicles at the scene were concealed by trees.
In the Petito investigation, Laundrie is the only person of interest. Following Petito’s death, a federal arrest warrant was issued for Laundrie for “use of unauthorized access devices,” including a Capital One Bank debit card and a personal ID number for two Capital One Bank accounts.
Petito vanished while on a cross-country trip, and her parents in Long Island, New York, reported her missing on Sept. 11 after not returning from a cross-country tour of national parks with Laundrie.
On Sept. 19, investigators searching the area in and around Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park discovered Petito’s remains, and her death was ruled a homicide.
She was last seen alive on Aug. 25 in Grand Teto, Wyoming, and Laundrie is a person of interest in her death. Her mother, Nichole Schmidt, later reported her missing to Suffolk County Police in New York, stating that she last spoke to her daughter around 7 a.m. on Aug. 30.
Autopsy results released on Tuesday, Oct. 12, confirmed 22-year-old Gabby Petito died of strangulation from human intervention.
“Manual strangulation or throttling is strangulation by use of hands as opposed to mechanical strangulation,” Dr. Brent Blue told 8 On Your Side’s Mahsa Saeidi.