Reporters photographed officers carrying rifles into the 25,000-acre wildlife reserve today. North Port police told News Nation reporter Brian Entin that they were there for “training and searching.” While that may be the case, the search seemed heightened as if there was more to it since they had rifles in tow.
The authorities entered the reserve from the west entrance, which is the first time police have used it. They then sealed off one of the exits with police tape as they covered the scene. Reporters also spotted the “Do Not Cross” tape at the North Port side of the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park.
Brian Laundrie is the main person of interest in the death of his fiancé Gabby Petito. Authorities have been investigating the Carlton Reserve for weeks now because of information from the suspect’s parents. They reported to police that their son allegedly told them he went for a hike there on Sept. 13. However, he never returned home following his supposed hike at the reserve. Ever since, a massive FBI-led manhunt has taken over the area in Florida.
Search for Brian Laundrie in Central Florida Ramps Up
After weeks of searching the Carlton Reserve with no luck finding him, it seemed as if officials may move on to other locations. Yet as search efforts died down in the area, police activity ramped back up near the park’s entrance on Thursday.
Local news channel WFLA reported that numerous law enforcement vehicles were seen near the Venice side of the reserve. Additionally, the outlet noted that two Pasco County Sheriff’s Office units were spotted at the scene.
The outlet got confirmation from a sheriff’s office spokesperson who shared that two K9 units were at the scene. They included a human remains detection (HRD) unit and a K9 trainer who assisted the police, sheriff’s office, and FBI.
“We have sent the HRD K9s a few times and patrol K9s a few times,” the spokesperson told WFLA. “For more insight, we’re one of the only law enforcement agencies in Florida that have HRD K9s in-house. So we’re often requested to assist in that aspect across the state.”
As Brian Laundrie remains missing, the Central Florida reserve is still a main area of interest for authorities. However, multiple people have reported sightings of the fugitive in recent weeks outside of the state.
For example, there have been several reported sightings of Laundrie in western North Carolina near the Appalachian Trail. The 23-year-old is an active hiker and survivalist, so many experts think he’s laying low in the wilderness.
Earlier this month, hiker Dennis Davis said he’s “100% sure” he spotted Brian Laundrie near the Appalachian Trail. He even spoke to the FBI about his sighting. But investigators have no concrete evidence of the fugitive ever visiting the area.