Gabi Pettito’s fiancé, who was sought by police for six days in connection with the death of the 22-year-old travel blogger during their road trip across the country, was charged Thursday with fraudulently using her debit card.
A search warrant was issued for Brian Laundry, 23, after a grand jury in US District Court in Wyoming indicted him on one count of illegal use of the card and Petito’s PIN. He was not accused of her death.
“While this warrant allows law enforcement to detain Mr. Laundry, the FBI and our partners across the country continue to investigate the facts and circumstances of Pettito’s murder,” Michael Schneider, the special agent in charge of the FBI Denver said in a statement.
“We urge individuals with knowledge of Laundry’s involvement in this matter or his current whereabouts to contact the FBI,” Schneider said.
The indictment accuses Laundry of spending $1,000 or more on the card between August 30 and September 1. Pettito was last seen alive on August 24. Investigators seem to believe she was killed sometime between August 27-30.
Americans have followed the case closely in the media since her mother, Nicole Schmidt, reported Pettito’s disappearance on September 11.
Ten days earlier, Laundry had returned home to North Port, Florida, without her from the road trip.
Pettito’s body was discovered Sunday near the remote Spread Creek Dispersed Campground in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming. Forensic investigators ruled her death a murder, but did not reveal the cause of death.
Police and FBI agents using divers, tracking dogs and helicopters have been searching for Laundry in the wild Carlton Reserve near North Harbor since Friday, when his parents told them he had gone for a walk three days earlier.
Search teams ended their sixth day of searching in the crocodile-infested wilderness as darkness fell on Thursday, saying they would resume searching on Friday.
Peteto’s remains were found less than 1,000 feet (300 meters) from where, on the evening of August 27, another pair of travel bloggers captured video images of the couple’s 2012 white Ford Transit truck parked along a dirt road.
Pettito, who has been documenting the couple’s “Fan Life” journey on social media, posted her last photo on Instagram on August 25, the same day she last spoke to her mother on the phone.
The family believes the couple were headed to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming at the time.
Schmidt received text messages from Pettito’s phone on August 27 and August 30, but she suspects someone other than her daughter sent them, according to investigators.
In one text, Pettito’s grandfather is referred to by his first name, which Schmidt says was out of her daughter’s character.
The second message only said “No service in Yosemite,” the national park in California that Peteto and Londry are not believed to have visited during their trip.
Pettito and Londry, who met at a high school in Long Island, New York, left New York in early July heading west and posted on social media as they traveled through Kansas, Colorado and Utah.
On August 12, a 911 caller reported that Laundry was slapping and hitting Pettito in front of the Moonflower Community Cooperative in Moab, Utah.
Moab police stopped the truck on a highway near Arches National Park. Body camera footage showed Pettit crying as she described an altercation that escalated to her being slapped by Laundry while he was driving. The officers did not detain the couple but ordered them to spend the night separately.
“Lector profesional. Jugador galardonado. Aficionado a los zombis. Adicto a las redes sociales. Experto en tocino. Erudito en Internet”