Wednesday, 27 Oct 2021

Brian Laundrie likely hiding where he's 'being taken care of', ex-FBI agent says

Brian Laundrie is likely hiding at a place where he is ‘being taken care of’ – and not the swampy Florida nature reserve where officials have concentrated their manhunt for him, according to a former FBI official.

Terry Turchie, a former deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, commented over the weekend on the ongoing search for Laundrie, 23, the only person of interest in the disappearance and homicide of his fiancé, 22-year-old Gabby Petito.

‘People don’t change because they become a fugitive. They tend to figure out how they can land in the comfort zone,’ Turchie told Fox News.

Authorities believe Laundrie is hiding out in the 25,000-acre Florida nature reserve where he told his parents was going hiking on September 13, though hundreds of tips and alleged sightings point to the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina.

‘Clearly he’s not out in some camp or some cave somewhere on the hard, cold ground or … snake, gator-infested water. He’s somewhere where he’s probably being taken care of,’ Turchie said.

‘When you see how he came running home after something obviously happened, that kind of tells you what he’s probably doing now.’

Despite some reports of Laundrie being a skilled outdoorsman, his sister Cassandra described him as a ‘mediocre survivalist’.

The Laundrie family attorney Steve Bertolino on Thursday said officials still believe he is in the Carlton Reserve, though some believe he may be closer to home or receiving help from another person. Some Internet sleuths even believe he may be hiding in his parent’s flowerbeds.

Also on Thursday, Laundrie’s father Chris Laundrie was seen arriving at the gate of Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park. Law enforcement officials asked Chris ‘to point out any favorite trails or spots that Brian may have used in the preserve’, Bertolino told Fox News.

Police activity at the Carlton Reserve picked up again after several days of a scaled back search. Laundrie is believed to have hiked the preserve on September 13, and has been missing ever since.

Laundrie and Petito were traveling cross-country in a van when Petito disappeared. Laundrie returned to his family’s North Port, Florida home, without Petito on September 1. Petito’s parents reported her missing 10 days later, and Laundrie’s parents reported him missing a week after.

Petito’s remains were found in Grand Teton National Park on September 19.

Turchie, who retired from the FBI in 2001, had directed the task force that identified and caught ‘Unabomber’ Theodore Kaczynski and participated in searching for Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph.

The former agent compared the search for Laundrie to that of Rudolph, who was found by the FBI after speaking with a man who shared some of Rudolph’s interests.

‘You interview as many people who need this person as you can, you continue following that,’ Turchie said. ‘You talk to neighbors, friends and you look for anything (the fugitive) might have said during a time that he didn’t have this guard up where he hadn’t done anything.’

While all situations differ, Turchie knows all fugitives ‘tire eventually’ and that with enough clues, Laundrie cannot be on the run forever.

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