Cassie Laundry urges her brother to surrender to authorities in television interview
Florida fugitive Brian Laundry, fiancee of slain Van Life blogger Gabby Petito, has become arguably the most wanted person in America after going into hiding after reports of his disappearance on September 11.
But the so-called outsider is only “a mediocre existentialist,” according to his sister Cassie Laundry, who urged him to surrender to authorities in an interview with ABC News this week.
“I would say Brian is a mediocre existentialist,” she told the outlet. “It wouldn’t surprise me if he could stay there for much longer. But at the same time, I don’t think anything would surprise me at this point.”
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The comments contradict statements from Petito’s friends, who say they believe laundry can do well by staying off the ground.
Rose Davis told the Daily Mail earlier in the saga, “I know he lived in the Appalachians, which I think was three months old, and he did it himself, so I know he’s skilled at it.”
Still, experts have questioned how long the laundry can survive outside, with life as a wanted man being more difficult than as an outdoor hobbyist.
When Florida police first began searching the 25,000-acre reserve near his parents’ home, many doubted he could survive in such violent conditions. The area is home to gators, venomous snakes, bears, big cats, wild boars and more. Weather is also the enemy. The near daily deluge of heavy rains has left much of the reserve under water.
But there is also speculation that they fled to the reserve as laundry cover, then went elsewhere. He could have taken advantage of the chaos on the southern border to slip into Mexico or make his way to Costa Rica. He could fly in many other directions.
“The search in the swamp is leading everyone to believe Brian is in the swamp, and no civilians are paying attention to who is around him,” said Dan Reimer, a West Palm-based private investigator. “[The] People need to pay attention to be aware, [and] Somebody will see something, just like the campers saw the van.”
Duane “Dog” Chapman, a former reality star and real-life bounty hunter, is focused on the Fort De Soto Park campground south of St. Petersburg, where he learns that the Laundry family has been dating Brian Laundry’s return from Wyoming. The middle had stopped. Petito’s mother reported him missing.
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Some experts suspect that Laundry ran down the Appalachian Trail, where family members said he had previously been camping outside for extended periods as well. Several scenes near the trail are being investigated by officials in North Carolina and Tennessee. He hasn’t done anything concrete.
Without food, water and shelter, the trail can prove to be a difficult place to hide.
“Unless he’s going to Rambo in the woods… “I guess people can do it, but who knows if this dude has that skill?”
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He said it would only require cash, a simple disguise and a fake ID, which can be directly hidden.
Reimer said the laundry likely made it to South Florida, where he worked on several fugitive cases.
“They send their kids here to rehab, then the kids leave rehab, and they hire me to find them,” he said. “It’s amazing how they make a living. No credit cards, no physical signs of income, and they just do.”
John Kelly, a longtime criminal profiler who has worked on cases including the Golden State killer and the Long Island serial killer, said there is evidence that Laundry is alive wherever he is.
When Laundry disappeared from his parents’ home in mid-September, he left behind his new phone and wallet, leading Kelly to believe he was running without intention. Often when people go out to harm themselves, he said, they bring their phones so their remains can be found. But for the same reason, a phone will be a liability while on LAM.
Petito’s parents told Dr. Phil McGraw this week that they believe Laundry is alive and on the run.
He is wanted on a federal bank card fraud warrant and has an interest in Pettito’s murder.