Brian Laundrie, the person of interest in late fiancée Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito’s case, has been missing for two weeks after his parents claimed he was last seen heading to the Carlton Reserve in Florida. A local expert weighed in on the likelihood that Laundrie is still alive.
“There’s no surviving out here, I don’t know how to say it,” Alan McEwen, a cattle rancher, told Fox News in an interview published on Sunday, September 26. “No buzzards, no body is my theory.”
According to McEwen, who has spent nearly every day of the past 30 years navigating the preserve’s nearly 25,000 acres, the woods where Laundrie, 23, is suspected to be, is not habitable.
Laundrie and Petito had embarked on a cross-country trip in Petito’s white 2012 Ford Transit van in July, as they stopped in national parks and documented their “van life” on social media. Laundrie returned to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida — where he and Petito lived — in the van without his fiancée. On September 11, the aspiring travel vlogger’s parents reported her missing.
Laundrie, an avid hiker, was last seen on September 14. The following day, the North Port Police Department confirmed Laundrie was a person of interest in the disappearance of Petito. Laundrie’s parents, Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, reported him missing on September 17, lawyer Steven Bertolino revealed, and informed authorities that he had planned to go hiking in the preserve.
On September 19, human remains believed to be Petito’s were found in the Spread Creek dispersed camping area in Wyoming, one of the last places the Long Island native was seen alive. On September 21, authorities announced the body was that of Petito and the manner of death was determined homicide.
While Laundrie remains a person of interest in the case, a federal warrant has been issued for his arrest by the U.S. District Court of Wyoming on Thursday, September 23, two days after her death was confirmed by a coroner.
The arrest warrant, which was released by the FBI along with a news release, was issued for the alleged violation of the “Fraud and related activity in connection with access devices” statute of the U.S. Code, specifically for “whoever knowingly and with intent to defraud produces, uses, or traffics in one or more counterfeit access devices.”
These devices include “any card, plate, code, account number or other means of account access that can be used, alone or in conjunction with another access device, to obtain money, goods, services, or any other thing of value, or that can be used to initiate a transfer of funds (other than a transfer originated solely by paper instrument),” according to the United States v. Jenkins-Watts.
McEwen has been aiding the North Port Police Department in their search for Laundrie, but the expert is doubtful Laundrie would survive in the swamp-like environment, surrounded by alligators, black bears, panthers, rattlesnakes and insects.
“I’ve been in the woods in and out all my life … I have learned a lot in my life, and one thing I know is no one is gonna survive out there for two weeks on foot,” McEwen told Fox News. “Unless he’s got a butt like a duck and can float, he’s not in there … Unless he’s got a hide like a gator, the mosquitoes will carry him right off.”
However, when asked if Laundrie may have died in the reserve, McEwen is confident his body would have been found by now.
“Anything dead you find in the woods, you’re gonna look up, you’re gonna see buzzards flying like crazy,” he said. “And I haven’t seen any buzzards flying.”
McEwen pointed out a number of passageways out of the preserve, leading to highways, everglades and ranch land, where Laundrie could have escaped. McEwen added, “He could be anywhere.”
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