Brian Laundrie, 23, lives in North Port, Florida, United States with his parents Christopher John “Chris” Laundrie, 62, and Roberta Maria Vinci Laundrie, 55. On September 14, 2021, Brian left home with a backpack to go hiking in the T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve in Sarasota County, Florida, according to Chris and Roberta.
On September 15, 2021, the North Port Police Department named Brian a person of interest in the investigation of the disappearance of his fiancée Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, 22, of Blue Point, Long Island, New York, USA. On September 17, 2021, Chris and Roberta summoned the police to their North Port home and told them that they had not seen Brian since September 14, 2021.
On September 19, 2021, Petito was found deceased at the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in the Bridger-Teton National Forest on the east boundary of Grand Teton National Park in Teton County, Wyoming, USA. On September 21, 2021, a coroner made an initial determination that she died by homicide.
Since Chris and Roberta reported Brian missing, the North Port Police Department has been searching the T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve, also known as the Carlton Reserve. On September 22, 2021, the air search team and the Sheriff’s Underwater Recovery Force of Sarasota County joined the effort.
“If he’s down there in the Carlton Reserve, he’s living in hell,” USA Today quoted survival expert Mark Burrow as saying. He said if authorities have not found evidence yet that Brian was in the Carlton Reserve, that means he probably never was.
Even if Brian is indeed in the reserve, the chances anyone finds him alive are slim, according to Burrow. The survival expert pointed out that while people have been making a big deal of the alligators and the snakes, it is dehydration that is the real danger.
The Carlton Reserve has 80 miles of hiking, equestrian and biking trails near Venice, Florida. Even if Brian were able to get a fire started to boil water in the reserve, recent rains will have made the drinking water full of tannins from local foliage, which can loose bowels and subsequently exacerbate dehydration, Burrow explained.
Petito was an aspiring travel blogger and Brian was her childhood sweetheart. When they started dating in 2019, she moved in his family home in North Port.
In July 2020, Petito and Brian got engaged. They started their cross-country camping trip on July 2, 2021 and travelled across the U.S. in a white 2012 Ford Transit van but on September 1, 2021, he drove the van back to North Port without her.