An arrest warrant has been issued for Brian Laundrie following the death of his girlfriend Gabby Petito, whose body was found at a Wyoming campsite over the weekend.
"On September 22, 2021, the U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a federal arrest warrant for Brian Christopher Laundrie pursuant to a Federal Grand Jury indictment related to Mr. Laundrie’s activities following the death of Gabrielle Petito," the FBI said in a statement on Thursday.
"While this warrant allows law enforcement to arrest Mr. Laundrie, the FBI and our partners across the country continue to investigate the facts and circumstances of Ms. Petito's homicide," said FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider. "We urge individuals with knowledge of Mr. Laundrie's role in this matter or his current whereabouts to contact the FBI."
Laundrie has been missing for nearly a week after his parents said he went for a hike Friday but never returned.
The online docket for the U.S. District Court for the District of Wyoming shows an indictment against Laundrie was filed and an arrest warrant issued on Wednesday, but it was sealed by the judge at the request of prosecutors. The Justice Department asked for the indictment to be unsealed Thursday, and it appears to have been posted online sometime Thursday evening.
The indictment states that from Aug. 30 through Sept. 1, Laundrie “knowingly and with intent to defraud, used one or more unauthorized access devices” — specifically a Capital One debit card and a Capital One personal identification number to access two bank accounts, spending $1,000 or more over the course of those few days.
Acting U.S. Attorney Robert Murray and Assistant U.S. Attorney Nicole Romine signed a motion to unseal the case on Thursday, telling the court “law enforcement has articulated a reasonable belief that unsealing the indictment will assist in locating” Laundrie, and “the government has no reason to believe that unsealing the indictment will create any public safety or investigative concern.”
Chief U.S. Magistrate Court Judge Kelly Rankin granted the motion and unsealed the case on Thursday. The decision was first spotted by George Washington University's Seamus Hughes.
Investigators spent hours searching Laundrie's Florida home this week, questioning his parents, talking to neighbors, and collecting evidence to help them piece together what happened during the couple's fateful cross-country road trip.
Authorities also searched the Carlton Reserve, a rugged 24,565-acre wilderness reserve in Sarasota County, Florida, on the Gulf Coast near the couple's home in North Port.
On Wednesday, a team of "highly trained underwater specialists" arrived at the reserve to "search for evidence of crimes and victims of drowning, water accidents, and foul play," the Sarasota Sheriff's Office wrote on its website.
Petito and Laundrie left for their monthslong trip on July 22 from New York and made stops in Colorado and Utah. Petito was last seen on Aug. 24, when she and Laundrie checked out of a hotel in Salt Lake City.
Her mother, Nicole Schmidt, said she last heard from her daughter on Aug. 25 when Petito told her they were headed to Wyoming.
Petito's parents, who live on Long Island, New York, reported her missing on Sept. 11 after not hearing from her for two weeks.
On Tuesday, the FBI confirmed the remains of a person found in Wyoming over the weekend were Petito.
Teton County Coroner Brent Blue’s initial determination for the manner of death is homicide. The cause of death remains pending final autopsy results, the FBI added.
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Original Author: Barnini Chakraborty, Jerry Dunleavy
Original Location: Arrest warrant issued for Brian Laundrie, boyfriend of Gabby Petito