Experts in missing persons cases have said Brian Laundrie is unlikely to be found in Florida, as authorities continued their search for him in the state’s Carlton Reserve.
Mr Laundrie, who is wanted on a charge of bank fraud after the death of his fiancé Gabby Petito, has been missing since 13 September. He had previously been declared a person of interest in his partner’s disappearance. His parents told the FBI he had gone hiking in the nature reserve and not returned.
“It seems unlikely that he’s still in that reserve. They did not find any trace of him so far. It’s been weeks,” said former FBI agent Bryanna Fox, a criminology professor at the University of South Florida in Tampa.
Ms Fox speculated that Mr Laundrie may have had financial or transport assistance from a trusted person, adding that if someone picked him up hitchhiking or he used public transport, witnesses probably would have come forward, reports NBC News.
“The idea that nothing has been said reinforces to me that he was likely getting help,” Ms Fox said. “Obviously, that person would have to be very loyal and very close to him ... to not compromise his identity.”
The 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve has been searched numerous times since Mr Laundrie went missing, and law enforcement teams returned on Thursday with his father, Chris Laundrie, who was helping the efforts.
Thomas Lauth, a private investigator who specializes in missing persons cases, said he also believed Mr Laundrie is likely to have had help leaving Florida.
“I have never thought he would stay in Florida very long,” Mr Lauth said. “I believe he had some outside resources available to him early on, but those outside resources have likely cut him off because he’s a fugitive.”
Mr Lauth also commented on Mr Laundrie’s apparent ability to live in the wild.
He said: “He’s been a savvy traveler for many years. When I say ‘savvy,’ he’s able to live off the land, and he knows how to travel alone and lightly.”
Ms Fox said Mr Laundrie could soon be found. “He has to get lucky all the time for him not to get caught,” she said. “They only have to get lucky once. In the end, there’s a good chance law enforcement will either find him or learn what happened to him sooner than later.”