Federal court issues arrest warrant for Laundrie

Bradley J. Boner, Jackson Hole News&Guide photo A stone cross marks the location near Spread Creek in the Bridger-Teton National Forest where the body of Gabrielle Petito was discovered on Sunday. Gary Rider, a friend of Petito's stepfather, James Schmidt, told The Independent, a news site based in the United Kingdom, they visited the site Wednesday and created the memorial.

JACKSON — The U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a federal arrest warrant Wednesday for Brian Christopher Laundrie, the boyfriend of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, whose body was found this past weekend near Grand Teton National Park, according to the FBI.

The warrant was issued pursuant to a federal grand jury indictment for “use of unauthorized access devices” related to Laundrie’s activities during the period in which the 22-year-old adventure blogger went missing.

“While this warrant allows law enforcement to arrest Mr. Laundrie, the FBI and our partners across the country continue to investigate the facts and circumstances of Ms. Petito’s homicide,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider announced Thursday on social media. “We urge individuals with knowledge of Mr. Laundrie’s role in this matter or his current whereabouts to contact the FBI.”

The federal grand jury indictment indicates that Laundrie made unauthorized withdrawals of about $1,000 using a debit card and pin number that did not belong to him. The charges occurred from about Aug. 30 through about Sept. 1, according to the indictment.

Petito’s body was found Sunday, Sept. 19, near the Spread Creek dispersed camping area just outside of Grand Teton National Park following a multi-day investigation by Denver FBI agents, the National Park Service, the Teton County Sheriff’s Office, Teton County Search and Rescue, and the Jackson Police Department.

Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue ruled the death a homicide on Tuesday.

Until now, Laundrie, 23, had only been named a person of interest in the case.

Laundrie and Petito, originally from Long Island, New York, were high school sweethearts. They had been living in Florida when they began a cross-country road trip in July, driving her 2012 white Ford Transit van, which they had converted into a camper. Laundrie returned to his Florida home in the van without her Sept. 1. Ten days later Petito’s parents reported her missing, according to law enforcement.

On Sept. 17, the attorney for Laundrie’s family contacted the FBI indicating they wanted to talk about their son’s disappearance. Laundrie’s parents told law enforcement they last saw their son Sept. 14.

Law enforcement officers have been searching the Carlton Reserve, a 25,000-acre area with hiking trails and swamps in Florida’s Sarasota County.

On the day the Spread Creek search concluded, Petito’s father shared a photo of his daughter posing in front of an angel mural, smiling and seemingly sprouting life-sized, rainbow-colored wings.

“She touched the world,” Joseph Petito wrote in the post on the family’s Facebook page titled "Find Gabby."

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