Gabby Petito Case: Florida Governor Updates Law Enforcement’s Search, Says ‘We Need Justice’

by Lauren Boisvert

Recently, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis tweeted that he would be directing all “state agencies” to continue to assist in the search for Brian Laundrie. “We need justice for Gabby Petito,” he wrote.

North Port Police and Florida Fish & Wildlife law enforcement have been searching Sarasota County’s Carlton Reserve for Laundrie once again; on Monday Sept. 20 they shut down the search in the 25,000-acre reserve.

Brian Laundrie is a person of interest in Gabby Petito’s disappearance. He disappeared himself on Tuesday Sept. 14 when he told his parents he would be in Carlton Reserve. No one has seen or heard from him since then.

Brian Laundrie Possible Sighting on Trail Cam Cleared

Around 12 p.m. in Baker, Florida, resident Sam Bass spotted a figure on his trail camera; the image looked eerily similar to Brian Laundrie.

In the image, a figure stands with a backpack amidst foggy brush and trees.

The Okaloosa County Sherrif’s Office searched the area, but found nothing. In addition, they put out a statement recently that said, “The OCSO did its due diligence in response to this report and is wrapping up an extensive search that took place in this area to include nearby farmlands.” The statement, made in a Facebook post, continued. “No one – and nothing – of note was located. The individual referenced in the post below has no known ties to our area.”

On Monday, Sept. 20, law enforcement in Mobile, Alabama looked into possible sightings, but also said there was nothing of note.

The Impact of Gabby Petito’s Case

Experts agree that this is a domestic violence issue. Kiersten Stewart, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at the Futures Without Violence Organization, spoke with USA Today about the impact this case has.

“On average, three women a day are killed in this country from domestic violence,” Stewart said. “And we’re not doing enough to address it.”

While the case grips the country, it’s also important to note the sheer amount of missing and murdered indigenous women In Wyoming, where Gabby Petito disappeared, who don’t get the same media coverage. From 2011 to 2020, 710 indigenous people, most of them women and girls, went missing in Wyoming. According to a report by the Wyoming Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Task Force, 94% of homicides against indigenous women were done by current or former intimate partners.

Similarly, Gabby Petito’s case seems to be one of many domestic abuse cases that end in tragedy. The case is currently ongoing, and will be updated as news breaks.