The search for Brian Laundrie, 23, in the vast Carlton Reserve warmed up Thursday morning, Oct. 14, with an additional search member—a cadaver K9.
It has been more than a month since the fiance of deceased Gabby Petito, 22, vanished under law enforcement watch, purportedly after heading for a hike in the 24,000-acre park in Sarasota County on Sept. 13.
With Diesel, a certified human remains detection Labrador retriever, on the search team, it seemed officials were using all means possible to facilitate the search, WFLA reported.
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office who assigned Diesel to the search denied they had switched to searching for the body of Laundrie now instead of hoping to find him still alive.
“We have sent the HRD K9s a few times and patrol K9s (who are also trained to track those who are missing) a few times,” spokesperson for the department said.
“For more insight, we’re one of the only law enforcement agencies in Florida that have HRD K9s in-house, so we’re often requested to assist in that aspect across the state,” she added.
Survival experts have expressed high doubts that Laundrie could manage to survive in a challenging area such as the Carlton Reserve, with founder and chief instructor of the Urban Survival Academy Robert Urban told CNN he himself would not be able to preserve his life three weeks into the reserve.
Meanwhile, there had been times of low activity by law enforcement in the national reserve, which policing expert David Thomas said could be due to a shortage of personnel in other areas.
“The resources are needed in other places. By that I mean, somedays patrol might be understaffed, so you need to take those resources and make sure you have enough personnel,” Thomas told WTSP, saying that they had strained all their resources to help with the manhunt.
Brian Laundrie disappeared several days before the remains of his fiance were found in a national Wyoming park on Sept. 19. Her death was ruled a homicide, and autopsy results this week concluded she died of strangulation from human force.
He returned to their shared home in Florida from a field trip with her on Sept. 1 alone in her van. Petito’s family filed a missing case on Sept. 11 as soon as they learned their daughter did not accompany Laundrie home.