Gabby Petito: Internet wonders how Brian Laundrie got enough money to be on the run

Social media speculation centers around Brian Laundrie's parents who might have helped out with cash and an escape plan


                            Gabby Petito: Internet wonders how Brian Laundrie got enough money to be on the run
Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie (Instagram/ bizarre_design_)
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Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito’s fiance, continues to remain missing even as the FBI raided his parents’ home in the aftermath of the discovery of a body suspected to be that of the missing 22-year-old vlogger. FBI investigators searched Laundrie's parents' home in North Port as part of a "court-authorized search warrant" related to the Petito case. 

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Laundrie's parents were escorted from the home before the search and then were brought back inside for questioning. Agents reportedly removed a number of items from the home. Their Ford Mustang convertible was also towed away.

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North Port police said on September 20 that they had shifted the focus of their search for Laundrie and were no longer looking for him in the Carlton Reserve. "At this time, we currently believe we have exhausted all avenues in searching of the grounds there," police spokesperson Josh Taylor said.

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Chris Boyer, executive director of the non-profit National Association for Search and Rescue, said trying to find a person in the wilderness can be very difficult. "It's really hard to find people even when they want to be found," he told CNN. "The search area starts to grow every hour — he could be in a car or be on foot. It gets pretty daunting, to be honest."

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Petito’s case has captured the imagination of online sleuths with thousands of people examining photos for clues, posting their observations online, and even coming up with plausible theories about what might have happened and how this case will develop. Following a rumor that Laundrie was sighted in Alabama, a good 600 miles away from Carlton Reserve where authorities were searching for him, many netizens suspected the 23-year-old to be making his way to Mexico in an attempt to flee justice. 

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Now, many are wondering how Laundrie had the finances to be on the run. For now, all fingers point to his parents helping him with his escape plan. “BRIAN LAUNDRIE said he had no money to get a hotel for the night when the cops pulled them over; as shown in the police officers body cam RIGHT!!   SO HOW DID HE GET THE MONEY TO TRAVEL HALF WAY ACROSS THE COUNTRY BACK HOME SAFE TO HIDE WITH HIS MOMMY AND DADDY ?” read one tweet. 

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Another tweet said, “The @FBI needs to obtain bank records from #BrianLaundrie to see if he has spent any money or took out a large sum of cash. I’m guessing he bought a burner phone and used cash to purchase, or his family gave him money for his escape #GabbyPetito.” One person wrote, “Brian Laundrie was broke. Who sent him the money to drive home. Western Union or a Bank Transfer will be east to find,” adding, “I think Daddy Laundrie has known what his little monster did all along.”

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One problem, however, is that authorities have not yet ascertained if the Gabby Petito case is a homicide. Without a determined crime, Laundrie cannot be charged. "Laundrie is not a suspect in a crime. We think he is likely one of the last people to see Gabby Petito alive, and for that reason he's a very important witness," said Andrew McCabe, CNN senior law enforcement analyst and former deputy director of the FBI. Steve Moore, retired FBI supervisory special agent, told CNN on Monday that in order to obtain a search warrant, authorities would need to have probable cause there had been a crime and the person at the home was involved in the crime.

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But would they need that to keep tabs on him? Back in 2010, it was reported that federal law enforcement agencies had been tracking Americans in real-time using credit cards, loyalty cards, and travel reservations without getting a court order. The DOJ released a ten-page document that outlined the FBI’s guidelines for spying on financial transactions. 

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Under what was called ‘Hotwatch’, feds don’t have to have a warrant. The DOJ document, in fact, stressed that the preferred way to execute this was to bypass the protections provided by the Fourth Amendment to the Constitution and instead use a subpoena to order credit card issuers and other retailers to provide detailed real-time information about the financial moves of the person being watched. As per the document, a judge then orders a non-disclosure order, which ensures that the target will never know they’re being watched.

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