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‘Terrain’s Very Difficult’: Search Resumes For Brian Laundrie While Authorities Perform Autopsy On Body Believed To Be Gabby Petito

NORTH PORT, Fla. (CBSNewYork) – Authorities Tuesday resumed their search for Gabby Petito‘s missing fiancé Brian Laundrie.

Authorities are searching the Carlton Reserve, 25,000 acres of terrain which includes prairies and wetlands.

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North Port police posted photos and video of their search on social media.

“Terrain’s very difficult. Essentially, 75% of it is underwater, and other areas that are dry, we’re trying to clear. So we’re expecting to get wet by the end of the day, and check the entire area for Brian Laundrie,” said North Port Police Commander Joe Fussell, who is heading up the search.

Authorities suspended the search and executed a search warrant Monday at Laundrie’s home in North Port. Law enforcement swarmed the home, and FBI agents escorted Laundrie’s parents to an unmarked vehicle while they searched.

Laundrie returned to his parents’ home from the cross country trip on Sept. 1 without Petito and refused to aid in the investigation in her disappearance.

Over the weekend, his parents reported him missing.

(credit: Suffolk County Police Department)

An attorney for the Laundrie family had been scheduled to hold a news conference Tuesday, but Monday night said that news conference had been canceled.

The search warrant document says Petito had many talks and exchanged texts with her mother, Nicole Schmidt, who said that “during these conversations there appeared to be more and more tension between her and Laundrie.”

Schmidt also said she received an “odd text” from Petito on Aug. 27, which reads, “Can you help Stan? I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls.”

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Stan is Petito’s grandfather, but Schmidt said she never called him Stan, which made her think that something was wrong with her daughter, CBS2’s Dick Brennan reported.

Also Monday, the Grand County Sheriff’s Department in Utah released the 911 call that a witness made last month that prompted police to pull Laundrie and Petito over on the highway. The 911 call contradicts the story Laundrie is later seen telling authorities in bodycam video of the encounter.

In the bodycam video, police believed Petito was the aggressor, having left scratches on Laundrie, but the witness tells 911 Petito was the one who was hit.

Caller: “The gentleman was slapping the girl.”

911 operator: “He was slapping her?”

Caller: “Yes, and then we stopped. They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car, and drove off.”

All of this comes as authorities Tuesday conduct an autopsy on a body found in Grand Teton National Park which is believed to be the remains of Gabby Petito.

The FBI has not said what led them to the Grand Teton location where the body was found.

The cause of death has not yet been determined.

Experts say the was body likely exposed to the elements.

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“There could be rain, there could be intense heat, insect activity, other animals,” criminal pathologist Dr. Priya Banerjee said. “You X-ray her. You look at every possible piece of trace evidence, and I don’t just mean on the body, but at the scene as well.”



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