Dog the Bounty Hunter, on the lookout for fugitive Brian Laundrie, is said to have discovered a new campsite in a Florida park, where he and his team found a can of Monster Energy Ultra Gold.
The can was free of rust and unfaded. Still, the reality TV personality—whose real name is Duane Chapman—discovered no solid evidence that Gabby Petito’s boyfriend was still on Egmont Key in the forests of Shell Island near Fort De Soto Park, according to Fox News.
“We’re here at the island. This would be and could be the perfect spot for him to hide. Not too many people out here but there’s a lot of environmental things that we’re going to fight,” Chapman said on Twitter Wednesday.
“So here we go. The search now is really on. The search has just begun,” the 68-year-old added.
According to a source close to Chapman, the celebrity hunter was on Florida’s Marco Island this week, establishing a home base in the Sunshine State to begin his search for Laundrie, New York Post reported.
He was 75 miles from Laundrie’s home on Wednesday, Sept. 29, in Fort De Soto Park, where Laundrie and his parents camped on Sept. 6, five days after he returned alone from the couple’s cross-country vacation in her van.
UPDATE: Video is from this morning — earlier today we launched an active and specific search in a key area based on the intelligence we are receiving and researching. Boat crews and ground teams have been called in and we have search and rescue dogs deployed. More to follow… pic.twitter.com/g2tq85JTZX— Duane Dog Chapman (@DogBountyHunter) September 29, 2021
Petito’s body was discovered on Sept. 19 in Wyoming’s Bridgers-Teton National Forest.
Steven Bertolino, an attorney for the Laundrie family, confirmed that Laundrie and his parents, Chris and Roberta, were at the campground on Sept. 6 and 7.
Bertolino refuted Chapman’s allegations that the Laundries stayed in Fort De Soto Park until Sept. 8 but that his parents left without him.
Laundrie’s parents reported him missing on Sept. 17, three days after he allegedly informed them he was going for a hike at Sarasota’s Carlton Reserve and then vanished.
As reported by The Daily Wire, reports surfaced this week that Laundrie, who is suspected of being involved in the homicide of his 22-year-old girlfriend Gabby Petito, was observed buying a cell phone the same day he was purportedly last seen by his family.
“FBI agents visited an AT&T store near Laundrie’s family home in North Port, Florida, to look at any surveillance footage,” Deseret News reported Wednesday.
Laundrie was photographed entering the store on Sept. 14 with an older woman, according to TMZ sources.
According to Deseret News, Laundrie family lawyer Steven Bertolino informed TMZ that a replacement phone was purchased at the business. “But, he said, the phone is reportedly the same one that the FBI already has in its possession.”
“Bertolino told the New York Post that Laundrie left his home in North Port, Florida, without his wallet or his cellphone on the day he disappeared,” the report added. “He also told the New York Post that Laundrie’s parents were worried Laundrie might harm himself when he left the home.”
Following the disappearance of Gabby, who was subsequently found dead, Chapman received a report that the Laundrie family had checked into a park about 75 miles north of their house. According to paperwork acquired by Fox, Brian’s mother, Roberta Laundrie, checked into the Florida park.
Although Laundrie has not been charged with Petito’s death, he is the only person of interest in the homicide investigation. In addition, he was listed on a federal fraud arrest warrant issued last week for allegedly using someone else’s bank card.
Despite Bertolino’s assurances, campers at Fort De Soto told the Sun they were concerned that Laundrie might be nearby.
“It’s scary but realistic,” Amanda Smith, who has been staying at the campsite since Sunday, Sept. 26, told the news outlet about Laundrie’s possible presence. “We actually were just looking at some of the mangroves out there, and it’s very thick.
“You’d have to be skilled which apparently he is in the outdoors but you could for sure hide in them, and this is a good location in terms of being close to things but also being able to kind of get away at the same time,” she added.