Michael Hadsell, president of Peace River K9 Search and Rescue, revealed promising clues in the hunt for Brian Laundrie, a single suspect in the death of his fiancee Gabby Petito.
Hadsell, who has brought his team to join the searchers in hunting Laundrie in Fort De Soto Park, said that Dog the Bounty Hunter may be sniffing in the right place, New York Post reported.
The K9 search expert said that he initially did not believe Laundrie escaped in the Fort De Soto where the Laundrie family camped in early September after Brian returned from a cross-country road trip without Petito.
“But after working out there, yesterday, I’m like, ‘Wow, we may be really into something,” Hadsell said on Suncoat News Network as cited by the Post.
Petito, a travel blogger, was found dead in a Wyoming campground on Sept. 19, five days after Laundrie vanished from his parents’ home in North Port, Florida.
An FBI-led search has focused mainly on a park closer to Laundrie’s home, where his family said he went for a hike.
Laundrie’s parents have insisted they do not know where their son is.
Their attorney, Steven Bertolino, said in a statement that, “The speculation by the public and some in the press that the parents assisted Brian in leaving the family home or in avoiding arrest on a warrant that was issued after Brian had already been missing for several days is just wrong.”
The FBI continued to search the Carlton Reserve, a 25,000-acre, alligator-infested nature preserve near the Laundrie’s home but has scaled back their efforts.
According to Hadsell, his K9 team found signs Laundrie may be dodging authorities by kayaking around Fort De Soto Park; a 1,136-acre oasis made up of five interconnected islands at the mouth of Tampa Bay.
“We did find some campsites, we did find some evidence of kayaks near the campsites so it is possible that Brian’s out there,” Hadsell told WSNN-TV News.
Hadsell said the K9 team relies on its experience of nearly 200 search and rescue missions in this manhunt because Laundrie’s family has supplied no information.
“The parents as you know are being uncooperative, so we don’t have any scent articles or anything from Brian to be able to use it as a target odor for our dogs to work on. So, we do what we call, ‘general human scent,’” Hadsell said, explaining that the dogs are trained to work on water from a boat.
“And we can circle these smaller islands, if there is any human odor being produced from the island, the dogs will alert, and then we’ll send teams to go check it out,” the K9 expert said.