A federal arrest warrant was unsealed Thursday in Wyoming for Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito’s elusive fiancé, accusing him of debit card fraud as authorities continued to search for him as a “person of interest” in the investigation into the murder of Ms. Petito.
The single count indictment, which was filed Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Cheyenne, Wyo., Charged Mr. Laundrie with a single count of using unauthorized access devices. authorized linked to a Capital One bank debit card at the end of last month. Authorities did not say whether the debit card belonged to Ms Petito.
The decision by federal prosecutors came as the search for Mr Laundrie, 23, continued at a Florida nature reserve, where his parents said they believed he was gone.
Ms Petito’s remains were discovered on Sunday at the eastern edge of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, two months after the couple began a cross-country adventure, widely documenting their travels on social media. On Tuesday, the FBI ruled that the death of Ms. Petito, 22, was a homicide. The precise cause of death is pending final autopsy results.
“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,” Michael Schneider, the special agent in charge of the FBI field office in Denver. , said in a statement Thursday.
“We urge those with knowledge of Mr. Laundrie’s role in this matter or his current location to contact the FBI,” Agent Schneider said. “No single piece of information is too small or unimportant to support our efforts in this investigation.”
Steven Bertolino, an attorney for Mr Laundrie, did not immediately respond to requests for comment Thursday evening.
The charge against Mr. Laundrie carries a penalty of up to three years in prison and up to $ 250,000 in fines. Federal prosecutors have also filed a petition asking for Mr Laundrie’s pre-trial detention, saying he poses a flight risk and would attempt to obstruct justice.
Ms Petito left with Mr Laundrie in July in a white Ford van equipped for a cross-country adventure and was reported missing by her parents on September 11, police said.
Ten days earlier, Mr Laundrie returned to the home in North Port, Florida, where he lived with his parents and Ms Petito, in the white van the couple had used for the trip and which was registered in Ms Petito’s name. .
Mr Laundrie’s parents said last week that they had not seen their son in days, police said.
Maria cramer and Michael levenson contributed reports.