Brian Laundrie's parents may be forced to pay $1.2M spent on search for their son 'if they lied about disappearance'

THE manhunt for Brian Laundrie in a Florida swampland reportedly costs $200,000 a day and his parents might have to pay if it’s proven they “misled” authorities. 

Former Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputy Mike Hadsell estimates the bill for six days of searching for Gabby Petito’s missing fiancé in Florida’s 25,000 acre Carlton Reserve has reached $1.2million.

“I can accurately estimate they are spending $200,000 a day on this search,” Hadsell, who says he is a swamp search and rescue expert told the Daily Mail.

Hadsell warned that the parents could be stuck footing the steep bill if it’s proven that they weren’t completely forthright with investigators who were searching for their son. 

“And if this thing turns out to be bogus and they can prove that the family misled law enforcement on this, the parents will get a bill,” said Hadsell. 

On Thursday, Christopher, 62, and Roberta Laundrie, 55, had reportedly traveled to Orlando, Florida hours after leaving their North Port home.

The Sun reached out to law enforcement seeking comment about the costs of the search, but as of publication have not received a response. 


Laundrie and Patito logged about two months into a four-month transatlantic roadtrip adventure when Laundrie returned alone in Petito’s white transit van to his parent’s Florida home with Petito’s van on September 1.

"Two people went on a trip, one person returned, and that person isn't cooperating," North Port Chief of Police Todd Garrison said early on in the search for Petito, who had been reported missing on September 11.

Read our Brian Laundrie live blog for the very latest news and updates…

Seven days later, even as a throng of press and protesters camped outside the parents’ front lawn, Brain Laundrie disappeared and was reported missing by his family. 

The pursuit for Laundrie comes as a federal arrest warrant was issued for the 23-year-old according to an indictment filed by the Denver Field Office of the FBI.

Laundrie is accused of swiping Gabby’s Capital One debit card and running up a $1,000 balance from August 31 until September 1.

North Port police have documented the search throughout the week as officers have been snapped wading through muddy waters.

Swamp buggies were pictured entering the park Friday morning and police have already debriefed officials.

A temporary flight restriction has been raised up to 1,200 feet, from 400.

His 22-year-old vlogging fiancee Gabby Petito was reported missing on September 11 and Laundrie was declared a "person of interest" by cops investigating the case days later. 

Laundrie disappeared on September 14, after he allegedly told his parents that he was leaving their North Port, Florida home for a hike in a Sarasota nature reserve. 

On Sunday, authorities discovered Gabby’s body in a remote area of Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming. 

They later confirmed the cause of death was homicide. 


Since last weekend search and rescue teams which include FBI crews, cops and K9s were deployed to the alligator and snake-infested reserve.

More than 50 searchers made up of FBI agents alongside cops in Laundrie's hometown of North Port, Florida and various other law enforcement agencies logged their sixth day tracking him in the dense swampland using dive teams, dogs, drones, ATVs, infrared cameras.

"We're looking through wooded areas, through bodies of water. We're looking through swampy areas and we're deploying the resources to be able to do that," said Commander Joseph Fussell who is leading the search in Florida. 

He added that the search will press on in the Carlton Reserve area.

"We are not wasting our time out here,” he said.  

“We are doing our due diligence to find Brian in an area that intelligence has led us to believe he could possibly be in."

Gabby Petito timeline

Gabby Petito, 22, was last seen on August 24, leaving a hotel in Utah. Here is a timeline of Gabby Petito’s disappearance:

  • June 2021 – Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie set off on a cross-country trip across the US.
  • July 4 – Gabby posts photos of herself barefoot in Gove County, Kansas.
  • July 8 – Gabby posts photos of herself at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
  • July 18 – Gabby and Brian post photos of themselves at Utah's Zion National Park.
  • August 12 – Body camera footage was released in September showing an encounter Brian and Gabby had with police in Utah. Police confirmed that no significant injuries were reported.
  • August 19 – Gabby and Brian post a video on their YouTube channel chronicling their trip. The video receives more than 200,000 views.
  • August 24 – Gabby is spotted leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.
  • August 25 – Gabby Facetimes her mom, Nichole Schmidt, for the final time. In a later police report, Schmidt said her conversations with her daughter revealed "more and more tension" between her and Brian.
  • August 25 – Gabby also posts her last Instagram. No location is given.
  • August 27 – Gabby is seen for what's believed to be the final time. Witnesses claim they saw Brian in an explosive argument with staff at a restaurant in Jackson Hole, leaving Gabby in tears.
  • August 27 – Four hours later, travel bloggers driving through Grand Teton National Park drive past the couple's van "abandoned" on a dirt road.
  • September 1 – Brian returns home to Florida without Gabby.
  • September 11 – Gabby's parents report her missing to Suffolk County police.
  • September 14 – Brian's family issues a statement saying he has retained an attorney and will not be cooperating with investigators.
  • September 14 – Brian is allegedly last seen by his family. He reportedly told them he was going hiking in Cartlon Reserve but failed to return.
  • September 15 – Florida's North Port police announce Brian is a person of interest in the case. He is not charged with any crime.
  • September 16 – Utah police release body camera footage of the police encounter with Brian and Gabby.
  • September 17 – Brian's parents say they have not seen their son in a couple of days and report him missing.
  • September 18 – Police announce they were searching Carlton Reserve in Florida for Brian. Police announce they have not found anything.
  • September 19 – Authorities in Wyoming say they found a body in Grand Teton National Park. The FBI announces the body was believed to be Gabby's but a full forensic identification needs to be completed first to confirm.
  • September 20 – Police execute a search warrant on Laundrie's home, seizing his silver Mustang and a hard drive that may contain "evidence relevant to proving that a felony has been committed."
  • September 21 – Officials announce they will be conducting an autopsy on the remains found in Wyoming to confirm whether or not they belong to Gabby. Police also resumed their search for Laundrie, this time on the Venice side of Carlton Reserve.
  • September 21 – The FBI announced the body found in Wyoming was identified as Gabby's. The cause of death was not yet revealed.
  • September 21 – The Teton County Coroner's office said Gabby's official cause of death was still pending but the initial manner of death is homicide.
  • September 22 – Police continue to scour Carlton Reserve for a trace of Laundrie but yield no leads. A specialist dive team is called in to assist with the hunt.
  • September 23 – Officials announced a federal arrest warrant for Brian was issued.
  • September 24 – Gabby's father announced his daughter's funeral will be held on Sunday, September 26.



The Carlton Reserve is a 25,000-acre park and is home to venomous rattlesnakes, alligators, coyotes, and bobcats.

A special dive team was summoned from Sarasota County Sheriff's Department on Wednesday, sparking speculation that searchers were closing in on a possible lead

But Hadsell observed that it may have been a scent picked up from one of the K9 teams. 

“Probably one of the dogs raised an alert along the shoreline of deep water. I know they have cadaver dogs out there,” he told the Daily Mail.

“If a dog alerts, they're going to mark it and they're probably going to decide if it's a good enough alert to throw a diver in there and take a look.”

Making matters trickier, the wet grounds have served as Native American resting sites.

“The problem we have with areas like the Carlton is there is a lot of old pioneer and Indian graves out there. 

“And the dogs will alert on those. So it could be an Indian grave out there that they found. 

“The dogs will find stuff that is that old.”

Cops initially called off a “major search” Monday as they said that Laundrie isn’t a suspect – but it was back on Thursday.

As the search enters the sixth day, Laundrie remains outstanding.

The conditions are especially difficult. 

The deep water in the reserve after numerous hurricanes pelted the landscape adds to the danger factor for searchers. 

Huge areas are completely awash, with many sections of the reserve waist-deep, causing authorities to deploy airboats.

“This time of year is probably the worst time to be out there because of the heavy rains,” Hadsell told the Daily Mail. 

“This area is part of the watershed for the Mayakka River. 

“So as the water moves this way from mid-state down to the Gulf of Mexico, it goes through the Carlton Reserve.”

The search originated at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, which is 160-acre section attached to Carlton Reserve. 

It then switched to the main entrance to Carlton Reserve, closer to Venice, Florida.


The amount of resources pouring into the pursuit of the 23-year-old aggravates Hadsell, who claimed to the Daily Mail that he has led 160 missions but isn’t looking for Laundrie. 

Because of the scale of the search for Laundrie and the amount of days elapsed, Hadsell remains doubtful he’s going to be found there. 

“Any time he would move, especially in the Carlton, he would leave trails because you sink in the mud,” he told the publication.

“There would be evidence that somebody has been moving through there. 

“And any K9 will pick that up.”

Hadsell claims there’s been no Laundrie scent or prints.  

“So far I've heard they've found none of that, he said. “If that's true, then Laundrie's probably not there.”

That is why Hadsell is especially concerned about the rising price tag. 

“To see them blow more than a million bucks out here on this guy, is just like what the heck,” he told the Daily Mail.

He submits there are a lot of others who are in need of the expertise and manpower that are being used up for Laundrie’s manhunt.

“A lot of other people who end up missing need that money and need that help. And they just don't get it. 

“And that is chaffing me on this whole thing.”


The funeral service for Gabby is slated for Sunday, September 26, from 12pm to 5pm, at Moloney's Holbrook Funeral Home in Holbrook, New York.

Gabby's remains are set to be cremated as her family prepares for a memorial to say a final farewell.

The Sun understands the family planned for the cremation to take place in Wyoming before the service in New York.

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