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FBI agents donning bulletproof vests raided the North Florida home of “person of interest” Brian Laundrie early Monday and took his parents out of the house after declaring the area a crime scene shortly after calling off a search for the suspect nearby in a nature preserve.
FBI officials claimed to have “exhausted all avenues” in their search for Laundrie after the remains of his girlfriend, Gabby Petito, were discovered in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Sunday.
In a tweet, the bureau said Monday its agents would be executing a search warrant at the Laundrie home that was “relevant to the ‘Gabby’ Petito investigation,” though officials did not provide any further details beyond that.
The Daily Mail reported:
Images taken from the scene show FBI agents leading Chris and Roberta Laundrie, Brian Laundrie’s parents, out of the home and into a police van. They were allowed back into the residence about an hour later.
The dramatic development come a day after investigators found the body of a person believed to be his fiance, missing van-lifer Petito, in Wyoming.
A forensic pathologist from Sheridan, Wyoming will travel 360 miles east to Teton County Coroner’s Office to perform the autopsy.
Video taken as agents began to search showed the Laundrie’s being hastily escorted from the home by federal agents.
Meanwhile, authorities have come under fire for allowing Brian Laundrie to escape and go into hiding and failing to question him first after the FBI announced it had discovered a body in Wyoming matching Petito’s description. The bureau found her using “ground surveys,” reports said.
Petito, 22, logged one final call to her family on Aug. 25; she was reported missing on Sept. 11. She and her boyfriend started out to travel cross-country on July 2 from New York.
“We don’t know when she died,” said Lawrence Kobilinsky, a forensic scientist and professor emeritus of forensic science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in an interview with the Daily Beast.
“But we do know that she’s in an environment that’s very hot. You can get decomposition in a matter of a week,” he continued. “If it is Gabby, and if she’s been deceased since around August 24, the body could be in really bad shape.
WABC reported that Miranda Baker and her boyfriend picked up Brian Laundrie on August 29. He reportedly approached the couple and asked for a ride, telling them he was hiking alone in Wyoming. He also said that he had been camping by himself while Petito worked on their social media page in their van.
“He approached us asking for a ride because he needed to go to Jackson and we were going to Jackson that night. So I said, ya know, ‘hop in’ and he hopped in the back of my Jeep,” she explained. “So that was kind of weird.”
Baker said he was wearing “a backpack, a long sleeve, pants, and hiking boots,” and offered to pay them $200 for a 10-mile ride.
“He got out, and you know, he was thankful and he was kind of in a hurry. He said he was going to go across the street into the parking lot and find someone else to give him a ride, but, when we looked back 10 or 15 seconds after he got out of the vehicle he was just gone,” she told “Good Morning, America” on Monday.
Last month, police in Utah pulled the couple over after responding to calls of a domestic incident.
At the time, a crying Petito told police she was having mental health issues and that she slapped Laundrie when she thought he was going to leave her behind in the state.
He eventually returned home to Florida.
Authorities have scheduled an autopsy for Thursday.