Is Brian Laundrie in Mexico? Internet thinks it's him in viral pic at restaurant
Social media sleuths are sharing an image they claim shows Gabby Petito's ex-fiance Brian Laundrie at a restaurant in Mexico as authorities continue to hunt him.
Petito's body was found in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park over the weekend, and her death has been ruled a homicide. Authorities have continued their search for Laundrie, who has been missing for more than a week. Petito, 22, and Laundrie, 23, had been traveling across America in a converted Ford Transit van for nearly two months. The fiance returned to his parents' Florida home by himself on September 1. Petito was reported missing on September 11, more than a fortnight after her mother last spoke to her on phone. Meanwhile, Laundrie refused to cooperate with detectives working the case and mysteriously disappeared on September 12. Laundrie was named a "person of interest" last Wednesday, September 15, and currently has a federal arrest warrant out against him.
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Before going missing last week, Laundrie told his parents that he was going for a hike in a Florida nature reserve. Now, a picture making the rounds on social media appears to show a man sitting at a table at a restaurant in Mérida, Mexico, wearing a white t-shirt and black shorts. The screenshot was first shared by Lykke Borup, who is from Copenhagen but has been in Mexico recently, The Sun reported citing her Instagram account. It's unclear when the picture was taken.
Possible #BrianLaundrie sighting in Mexico #gabbypetitio #brianlaundrie pic.twitter.com/KH5voSvIQQ— Lord (@SteveFitness14) September 23, 2021
Social media caught up to the image rather quickly, speculating that Laundrie could be in Mexico as he currently remains at large and his whereabouts remain unknown. He told his parents he would be hiking in the “swamp-infested” Carlton nature reserve in Sarasota. A search and rescue expert, however, has proposed that Laundrie may have lied to his parents about where he was going.
“There’s a chance Laundrie may have lied to his family about where he was going," Chris Boyer, the executive director of the National Association for Search and Rescue, told Insider. “People that are trying not to get caught for something sometimes use people, right? So he may have told his parents that's where he's going. They may be telling the authorities that in all honesty, but he lied to them."
While there is no evidence Laundrie lied to his parents, the expert claimed he may not even be in Florida and "could be anywhere" at this point. According to Boyer, investigators may be looking at the 23-year-old's digital footprint in order to track his location. FBI detectives, police officers, and K9 officers searched in vain at the Sarasota nature reserve last weekend, with North Port Police department's Josh Taylor describing the reserve as “an unforgiving location” at times. “It is currently waist-deep in water in many areas," he explained. "This is dangerous work for the search crews as they are wading through gator and snake-infested swamps and flooded hiking and biking trails".