gabby petito

Family Lawyer Says FBI Picked Up DNA Samples of Indicted Gabby Petito Fiancé

Police in North Port, Florida, returned to the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve once again Friday as they continued to hunt Gabby Petito's fiancé Brian Laundrie, who has now been indicted on a fraud charge

NBC Universal, Inc. Search crews continue to comb through a 25,000-square-foot nature preserve for Brian Laundrie. Pei-Sze Cheng takes you on a ridealong with one of the crews.

What to Know

  • The FBI's prime person of interest in Gabby Petito's disappearance, her fiancé Brian Laundrie, has been missing for more than a week
  • The 23-year-old has been missing since telling his family he was going for a hike in a Florida nature preserve
  • Cops returned to that swampy 25,000-acre area Friday for a fourth straight day as they continued their search for Laundrie

Federal investigators returned to the Florida home of Brian Laundrie's family on Sunday to retrieve personal items for the purposes of matching DNA, a lawyer for the family confirmed to NBC News.

The search for Gabby Petito's fiancé intensified last week following his disappearance and after the FBI named him a person of interest in the wake of her death. Laundrie has been missing for more than a week since telling his family he was going for a hike in a sprawling Florida nature preserve.

The federal arrest warrant does not implicate Laundrie in the death of Petito, whose case has been ruled a homicide, but it does ensure law enforcement has the power to hold him on some charge -- in this case one involving debit card fraud -- if they ever do find the 23-year-old man.

The regular updates from law enforcement officers tasked with finding Laundrie quieted over a weekend her family and friends spent mourning the loss of the New York native. On Sunday, while crowds by the hundreds were paying their respects at a public memorial service in Long Island, FBI officials were spotted returning to Brian Laundrie's family home in Blue Point.

"The FBI requested some personal items belonging to Brian Laundrie to assist them with DNA matching and Brian’s parents provided the FBI with what they could," a lawyer for the Laundrie family said in a statement.

It's unclear what developments have come about in the past 36 hours since local officials announced the conclusion of their fourth day in a Florida nature preserve on Friday. A police spokesperson confirmed that the search would continue into the weekend but acknowledged the manpower dedicated to finding Laundrie was pulling resources from other cases.

It's not clear how long investigators plan to keep looking for Laundrie in this particular area -- or where they might look for him next if they don't find him there.

Laundrie hasn't been seen since Tuesday, Sept. 14, when he told his family he was going to the sprawling Carlton Reserve for a hike.

Roughly 75 personnel from 16 different agencies were on the ground Thursday searching the 25,000-acre reserve, a swampy subtropical terrain replete with alligators, snakes, bobcats and other wildlife. There are more than 100 miles of hiking and horseback riding trails, plus multiple camping areas and rivers.

Drones were also sent to aid in Thursday's aerial quest to find Laundrie. All-terrain searches continued until dark, as has been the case the last few days.

Laundrie and Petito had set out in a white van in July on a cross-country trek visiting national parks. Laundrie returned to his Florida home in that van on Sept. 1.

He was alone.

It wasn't until 10 days later, on Sept. 11, that Petito's family grew concerned they hadn't heard from her in a few days and filed a missing persons report. As it turns out, her cellphone had been off for much longer -- since Aug. 27, records show.

Petito's remains were found in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park on Sunday. Her death was ruled a homicide, an autsopy found, though further forensic analysis is needed to determine exactly how she died.

Federal and local law enforcement continue to ask the public for tips. Anyone with information is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI or visit tips.fbi.gov.

The search for Brian Laundrie, the fiance and person of interest in the death of Gabby Petito, is intensifying. Sarah Wallace reports.
Missing 22-year-old Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie left Long Island, New York, on July 2 for a months-long cross-country road trip, much of which they documented on social media. LX News host Tabitha Lipkin walks through the timeline of their trip based on Instagram posts, police video and other media.