Arrest warrant issued for Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito's fiancé

  • In US
  • 2021-09-24 11:19:02Z
  • By CBS News

An arrest warrant has been issued for Brian Laundrie, the 23-year-old fiancé of Gabby Petito, the FBI's office in Denver announced Thursday. Laundrie is a "person of interest" in the death of Petito, whose case was recently ruled a homicide, and law enforcement has not been able to locate him.

The single-count indictment from the U.S. District Court of Wyoming alleges that from August 30 to September 1, Laundrie "knowingly and with intent to defraud, used one or more unauthorized access devices, namely a Capital One Bank debit card [...] and a personal identification number for Capital One Bank accounts." Through that illegal conduct, the indictment alleges, Laundrie "obtained things of value aggregating to $1,000 or more."

The charging document does not mention Petito by name, and the FBI said only that the warrant was "related to Mr. Laundrie's activities following the death of Gabrielle Petito."

Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito. / Credit: North Port Police
Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito. / Credit: North Port Police  

"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," FBI Denver Special Agent in charge Michael Schneider said in a press release Thursday. "We urge individuals with knowledge of Mr. Laundrie's role in this matter or his current whereabouts to contact the FBI."

Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino emphasized to CBS News that he believes Laundrie's arrest warrant is "related to activities occurring after the death of Gabby Petito and not related to her actual demise."

"The FBI is focusing on locating Brian and when that occurs the specifics of the charges covered under the indictment will be addressed in the proper forum," Bertolino said.

Investigators are currently searching for Laundrie in Florida's Carlton Reserve, where police are using airboats, drones, ATVs and the Sarasota mobile command unit, according to CBS affiliate WINK. Police searched the home of Laundrie's parents for eight hours Monday, collecting evidence on his whereabouts.

Laundrie and Petito were engaged when the two embarked on a cross-country road trip in a white 2012 Ford Transit van. On August 12, a bystander reported to police that the couple were in a domestic dispute. Responding officers classified the event as a mental health break instead of a domestic dispute, and said no one wanted to press charges.

Laundrie returned home on September 1 without Petito. On September 11, Petito's parents reported her missing, sparking a nationwide search for her. Throughout the investigation, Laundrie refused to speak with police, which investigators said hindered the case.

On Tuesday, FBI Denver confirmed that a body discovered in Wyoming was Gabby Petito. An initial autopsy report ruled the cause of death as a homicide, but investigators are still waiting on final autopsy findings.

"48 Hours" goes inside the disappearance of Gabby Petito and the hunt for Brian Laundrie. Saturday at 10/9c on CBS and Paramount+.

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