Gabby Petito's friend has revealed Brian Laundrie has the skills needed to survive in the wilderness, as he remains a person of interest in the 22-year-old's death.
The US District Court of Wyoming issued a federal arrest warrant for Mr Laundrie on Wednesday (local time), relating to "activities following the death of Gabrielle Petito".
A manhunt is now underway to find Mr Laundrie, who was reported missing by his parents on September 17. They hadn't seen him in three days after he set off for a hike.
Laundrie spent months hiking by himself
Rose Davis was Ms Petito's best friend, after the two met through Bumble BFF in Florida last year.
Speaking to the Daily Mail, Ms Davis revealed Mr Laundrie spent three months hiking the Appalachian trail last year by himself.
The trail spans 14 states in the US, from the state of Georgia in the south, to Maine on the northeast.
"I know he lived in the Appalachians for what I believe was three months, and he did it by himself, so I know he's skilled at it," Ms Davis told the Daily Mail.
Ms Davis alleged Mr Laundrie was jealous and said he was "controlling'.
Mr Laundrie and Ms Petito were engaged and the two headed off on a van trip in July, stopping off at national parks across the US.
Police officers pulled the couple over on August 12, after reports of the two having a domestic dispute in public.
Ms Petito shared pictures of their trip on social media, the last post being from August 25, the same day she spoke to her mother, Nicole Schmidt, for the last time.
Neighbours saw family load camper van
On September 1, Mr Laundrie returned home to Florida, by himself and Ms Petito was reported missing by her family.
Neighbours of the Laundrie family, William and Charlene Guthrie, said they saw the family load a new camper attached to a pickup truck early in September.
"I saw them loading it up, so I assume they were preparing for a camping trip with their new camper," Mr Guthrie told Fox News.
At the time, the couple didn't think anything of it and Ms Guthrie said Christopher and Roberta Laundrie along with their son, appeared to then go on a trip which lasted a week.
Ms Petitio's body was found on September 19 at Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming, just 300 metres away from where travel bloggers saw her van on August 27.
Little is known about Ms Petito's cause of death, but it was ruled as a homicide in the coroner's initial determination.
Federal arrest warrant alleges bank card fraud
A federal grand jury indictment alleges Brian Laundrie used a Capital One Bank card and someone’s personal identification number to make unauthorised withdrawals or charges worth more than $1,000 during the period in which Petito went missing.
The indictment says the debit card was used from about August 30 to September 1, the Associated Press reported.
It does not say who the card belonged to.
On September 22, 2021, the U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a federal arrest warrant for Brian Christopher Laundrie pursuant to a Federal Grand Jury indictment related to Mr. Laundrie’s activities following the death of Gabrielle Petito. pic.twitter.com/SSrBVbAeBs
— FBI Denver (@FBIDenver) September 23, 2021
Steven Bertolino, the attorney representing the Laundrie family said it was his understanding the arrest warrant was related to the activities which happened after Ms Petito's death, not her demise.
“The FBI is focused on locating Brian and when that occurs the specifics of the charges covered under the indictment will be addressed in the proper forum,” Bertolino said in a text message to The Associated Press.
Petito case shines light on confronting issue
On Thursday, Interior Secretary Deb Haaland told reporters in Washington, DC, that the extensive news media coverage of the case should be a reminder of missing or murdered Native American girls and women.
Ms Haaland, the first Native American Cabinet secretary, said that her heart goes out to Petito’s family.
However, she said she also grieves for the many Indigenous women whose families have endured similar heartache 'for the last 500 years".
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