An ex-homicide detective from Florida blasted police for failing to obtain warrants to search Brian Laundrie’s house and electronic devices immediately after his girlfriend, Gabby Petito, was reported missing.
Former Miami-Dade detective Pat Diaz said investigators in North Port, Florida, did not necessarily have to suspect a crime was committed to getting warrants in a missing persons investigation, according to the New York Post.
“Why would you [try to] get consent from the guy, and not get a search warrant?” Diaz said Sunday. “You can get a search warrant for everything in that house, including his laptop.”
He said examining Laundrie’s electronics may have resulted in important clues regarding Petito’s location prior to her disappearance, even if no crime was suspected and her boyfriend remained silent.
However, North Port police spokesman Josh Taylor explained to Fox News his department “has no authority to execute a possible federal search warrant on our own.”
“I don’t see how anyone without all the facts in this case can come up with a reasonable conclusion and opinion on the matter,” he continued.
Taylor also said investigators had yet to determine if a crime occurred and some details surrounding the case had not been reported to maintain the integrity of the probe.
“There is no information that a crime took place here in North Port. That is our jurisdiction,” he stated.
On Sunday, the Teton County Coroner said officials responded to reports of a body found in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, the general area where officers had been searching for Petito.
The #FBI & law enforcement agencies across the country are investigating the disappearance of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, last known to be in the area of Grand Teton National Park in WY in late Aug 2021 while on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend: https://t.co/KSwirRvlqm pic.twitter.com/nJG4lVSTZZ
— FBI Most Wanted (@FBIMostWanted) September 18, 2021
In a statement, FBI Denver said the search “revealed human remains consistent with the description of Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Petito. Full forensic identification has not been completed and we do not yet know the cause of death”:
The live update has concluded and we will share a recording soon. Our statement is attached & we have no additional comment at this time. #FBIDenver & our partners extend our condolences to Gabby's family. We thank the public for your generous support of this investigation. pic.twitter.com/kZiSVmJtqv
— FBI Denver (@FBIDenver) September 19, 2021
The development came as authorities in North Port searched a vast wildlife reserve Sunday for Laundrie.
“Authorities looked through the area known as the Carlton Reserve, which encompasses over 24,000 acres and is located north of the home where Laundrie and Petito lived with his parents,” Breitbart News reported.
Officers began combing the area once Laundrie’s family told them his location was also unknown.
The couple had been traveling across the country over the summer and documenting the journey online. However, Laundrie returned home to North Port on September 1 without his girlfriend, according to police.
On Monday, FBI Tampa announced it was executing a search warrant at the Laundrie residence in regard to the Petito case:
#UPDATE: The #FBI is executing a court-authorized search warrant today at the Laundrie residence in North Port, FL relevant to the Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito investigation. No further details can be provided since this is an active and ongoing investigation. @FBIDenver pic.twitter.com/uxrtVNIZ4u
— FBI Tampa (@FBITampa) September 20, 2021
Meanwhile, WFLA reported the North Port Police Department said it was no longer searching the reserve for Laundrie.
“At this time, we currently believe we have exhausted all avenues in searching of the grounds there,” Taylor explained, adding, “Law enforcement agencies continue to search for Brian Laundrie.”