The manhunt for Brian Laundrie continued Monday when a tip led Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman to investigate a Florida campground 75 miles away from his parent’s home.
Though police and the FBI have been tirelessly searching the Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve near Laundrie’s home in North Port, Florida since he went missing earlier this month, experts have recently speculated the fugitive may not actually be there, given its harsh terrain.
“I’ve been in the woods in and out all my life … I have learned a lot in my life, and one thing I know is no one is gonna survive out there for two weeks on foot,” Florida cattle rancher Alan McEwen told Fox News.
To theories that Brian Laundrie either died or committed suicide, McEwen asserted authorities would have found a body by now.
“Anything dead you find in the woods, you’re gonna look up, you’re gonna see buzzards flying like crazy,” he said. “No buzzards, no body is my theory. And I haven’t seen any buzzards flying.”
When bounty hunter Duane Chapman threw his hat in the ring in the search for Laundrie, the reality TV star said he and his team received multiple tips indicating that the former boyfriend of the now-slain Gabby Petito had visited the Fort De Soto Park with his family several times in early September.
The trips reportedly happened after Laundrie returned from his road trip without his former girlfriend. According to Chapman, surveillance footage and the park’s registry show that the Laundrie family stayed at the park between the nights of Sept. 1-3 and Sept. 6-8 – less than a week prior to when Laundrie disappeared.
“They were registered, went through the gate. They’re on camera. They were here,” Chapman told Fox News on Monday. “We think at least if he’s not here right now, we are sure he was caught on camera as he went in the gate — that he was here for sure. Not over in the swamp.”
“Allegedly, what we’re hearing, is two people left on the 8th. Three people came in on the 6th, and two people left on the 8th. I think he’s been here for sure,” Chapman later added.
Shortly after Gabby Petito’s parents reported her missing on September 11, Brian Laundrie refused to cooperate with police until his parents reported him missing on September 14. The odd chain of events has led to speculation that Laundrie’s parents somehow aided in their son’s disappearance; Steven Bertolino, the Laundrie family attorney, denounced that theory as false.
“They are concerned about Brian and hope the FBI can locate him,” Bertolino wrote in a statement on Monday. “The speculation by the public and some in the press that the parents assisted Brian in leaving the family home or in avoiding arrest on a warrant that was issued after Brian had already been missing for several days is just wrong.”
Last week, the FBI issued an arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie for the alleged crime of fraudulently using a debit card shortly after Gabby Petito’s death.