October 26, 2021

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Brian Laundrie: Attention Turned to Fort De Soto Park After Dog the Bounty Hunter Tip – Newsweek

3 min read

A tip from reality TV star Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman placed newfound attention in the search for Brian Laundrie on Fort De Soto Park, a vast wildlife park in Pinellas County, Florida, where he was allegedly seen in early September.

Laundrie, 23, has been named a “person of interest” in the disappearance of his fiancé Gabby Petito, whose remains were found in Wyoming on September 19 after the two went on a cross-country road trip. He has not been seen since his parents reported him missing in Florida almost two weeks ago.

On Monday night, Chapman told Fox News that he received information that Laundrie spent time in Fort De Soto park with his parents in early September after he returned to Florida without Petito.

Chapman alleged that Laundrie and his parents, Chris and Roberta, entered the park on September 6, but only two people left the park on September 8—leaving room for theories that Laundrie was assisted by his parents and could still be located in the park.

“They were registered, went through the gate. They’re on camera. They were here,” Chapman told Fox News on Monday evening. “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.”

Fort De Soto Park is located about 75 miles away from the Laundries’ home on Wabasso Avenue in North Port. In February, Petito shared an image of her and Laundrie together at a campground in the park. In the photo, the couple is seen standing behind a barred window, prompting some social media users to comment that Laundrie better get “used to” being locked up that way.

“This is exactly where you will end up,” another social media user said, according to the New York Post.

The couple later posted a review of the park on the travel website The Dyrt, describing it as a “really nice campground, beautiful area with many hikes and easy walks, the beach, historic sites, really nice camp store and well maintained sites!,” according to Fox News.

Though Chapman’s latest allegation has turned attention to the more than 1,130-acre park, a spokesman from the Pinellas Sheriff’s Office said police are not actively searching Fort De Soto at this time.

“At this point, we’re not conducting an investigation in Fort De Soto,” said Travis Sibley, a spokesman from the Pinellas Sheriff’s Office told the Tampa Bay Times. “We are not aware of any confirmed sightings of Brian.”

According to the park’s website, Fort De Soto is the largest park located within the Pinellas County Park System and contains five interconnected islands. The park also contains more than seven miles of waterfront and an “800-foot-long boat launching facility with eleven floating docks.”

Here is an aerial view of Ft. De Soto campground.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office says they are not conducting an investigation there and are unaware of any confirmed sightings of Brian Laundrie.
Thanks for the visuals @8_plamison @WFLA pic.twitter.com/oV0uNIc82j

— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) September 28, 2021

Laundrie’s parents have vehemently denied any knowledge of or involvement in their son’s disappearance.

“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,” Attorney Steven Bertolino, who is representing Laundrie’s parents, said in a statement.

Anyone with information on Laundrie’s whereabouts is asked to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI or 303-629-7171.

Newsweek has contacted the Laundries’ attorney for an updated statement on the case.

Gabby Petito Memorial
Reality TV star Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman believes search efforts for Brian Laundrie should be focused on Fort De Soto Park. A makeshift memorial dedicated to missing woman Gabby Petito is located near City Hall on September 20, 2021 in North Port, Florida.
Octavio Jones/Getty Images

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