Jackson, WY – A federal grand jury in Wyoming has indicted Brian Laundrie for allegedly using a bank card to make unauthorized charges or withdrawals during a block of time after the disappearance of his 22-year-old fiancé, Gabby Petito.
Petito and Laundrie, 23, had been had been touring U.S. national parks in Petito’s converted camper van since early July.
Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, said she last spoke with her daughter on Aug. 25.
Laundrie returned to his family’s North Port, Florida in Petito’s van on Sept. 1, but she was not with him.
He refused to speak with police or Petito’s family about where he last saw her before he supposedly vanished while hiking in a Florida nature reserve on Sept. 14.
Petito’s body was discovered in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming on Sept. 19.
Her death has been ruled a homicide, but her exact cause of death has not been released.
Police named Laundrie as a person of interest in Petito’s homicide, but investigators have stopped short of labeling him as a suspect.
In light of the grand jury indictment, the U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a federal warrant for Laundrie’s arrest on Wednesday for use of unauthorized access devices, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Denver office announced in a press release.
He has been accused of using a Capital One bank card and someone else’s personal identification number to make unauthorized charges or withdrawals exceeding $1,000, according to the Associated Press.
According to the indictment, the unauthorized use of the card occurred from approximately Aug. 30 until Sept. 1.
The name of the card owner was not listed in the indictment, according to the Associated Press.
FBI spokesperson Courtney Bernal refused to discuss the types of unauthorized charges that were made.
“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,” FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge (SAC) Michael Schneider said in the press release.
“We encourage individuals with knowledge of Mr. Laundrie’s role in this matter or his current whereabouts to contact the FBI,” SAC Schneider added. “No piece of information is too small or inconsequential to support our efforts in this investigation.”
Steven Bertolino, the attorney representing the Laundrie family, noted the warrant pertained to allegations that occurred after Petito’s death and that it did not allege Laundrie played a role in her death, the Associated Press reported.
“The FBI is focused on locating Brian and when that occurs the specifics of the charges covered under the indictment will be addressed in the proper forum,” Bertolino told the Associated Press.
Thursday marked the fifth day in the search for Laundrie at the swampy, alligator-infested Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County, where he supposedly disappeared while hiking.
“The ground search in the Carlton has been halted for the day,” the NPPD said in a Facebook post Thursday night. “Nothing found. We will be back at it Friday.”
The Laundrie’s neighbors, Charlene and William Guthrie, told FOX News on Wednesday that they have spoken with investigators about a strange camping trip Christopher and Roberta Laundrie took with their 23-year-old son the day Petito’s family reported her as missing.
According to the Guthries, the family set off in a new, small camper attached to their truck on Sept. 11 for what the Guthries figured was a weekend getaway, FOX News reported.
They said Petito had been living at the Laundrie home prior to the couple’s cross-country trip in Petito’s converted camper van, and said they had no idea Brian Laundrie had returned home without her on Sept. 1.
The Guthries said when police later came around asking neighbors questions in relation to a missing persons case, they told them about the camping excursion, FOX News reported.
William Guthrie noted he thought it was odd that the entire family would be camping in such a small camper.
The current location of the camper is unclear.