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Search for Brian Laundrie now a criminal investigation after Federal warrant issued

Posted at 10:38 PM, Sep 23, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-23 22:38:04-04

SARASOTA COUNTY — With a new Federal charge against Brian Laundrie, the search in Sarasota County is now a criminal investigation, and North Port police told us Thursday they brought in even more officers to help cover more ground.

Cdr. Joe Fussell said the new officers were immediately put to work Thursday, conducting a more meticulous search of a specific area in the Carlton Reserve.

"We teamed up, we broke them into different groups to do a line search and a grid search throughout a specific area in the Carlton Reserve," said Cdr. Fussell.

Sixteen agencies are now involved in the search, and others are offering up equipment. The Collier County Sheriff’s Office posted to Facebook that it lent a swamp buggy to the search team.

"These swamp buggies are important for us because you’re at higher altitude looking down, and you can get into the deeper water, the deeper marsh," said Cdr. Fussell.

The search is now in its sixth day, and so far nothing has been found. We talked to wildlife expert Ray Simonsen, better known as Ray the Trapper, who said part of the reason it’s taking so long is for the crew’s safety.

"When you’re contending in an environment that’s now covered by water, you have to probe before you walk, because if you step in a hole, next thing you’re submerged. Everything you have with you, or you get tangled up in something, you could drown," said Simonsen.

It’s now been nine days since Brian Laundrie was last seen, but Simonsen said he could definitely still be alive in the woods if he knows what he's doing.

"What you need are the basics. You have a sharp implement like a knife, something to boil water in, a life straw. You could sustain for days just with that," said Simonsen.

That’s a possibility officers are not ruling out as they work to cover every part of the Carlton Reserve for Brian Laundrie, a now fugitive of the law.

The North Port Police Department tells us it was another day without any evidence found, but they plan to be right back out there Friday morning continuing the search.