Police say Brian Laundrie, the fiancé of Gabby Petito, has himself been missing since Tuesday.
Laundrie could’ve easily fled the US because people often wear masks, a private investigator said.
He said police were likely considering two scenarios: Laundrie is in hiding or will attempt suicide.
A private investigator told Insider it was possible that Brian Laundrie, the fiancé of the missing road tripper Gabby Petito who himself has been missing since Tuesday, could have fled the country.
Laundrie was named a person of interest in Petito’s missing-person case after he returned from a cross-country road trip on September 1 without her. Remains consistent with the description of Petito were found over the weekend in Grand Teton National Park, according to the FBI.
Police have not charged Laundrie with a crime but say they have “exhausted all avenues” searching for him in Florida’s Carlton Reserve.
Harvey Morse, a private investigator with Florida’s Locaters International Inc., told Insider that it would be easy for Laundrie to evade detection by wearing a face mask.
Morse, who has more than 50 years of experience as a detective and private investigator, said it was harder than ever for police to identify missing persons because the coronavirus pandemic has made it common for people to wear face coverings in public.
“It would be easy for him to get on a plane,” Morse said.
According to Morse, police are likely considering two scenarios while searching for Laundrie: that he is in hiding or that he will attempt suicide. Morse said the chances of Laundrie attempting suicide were “above average” because if he ended up facing charges in Florida in connection with Petito’s disappearance, there could be severe legal consequences.
Morse said the large amount of media coverage on Petito’s disappearance also might indicate to law enforcement that Laundrie could attempt suicide rather than go into hiding.
Petito’s disappearance motivated internet sleuths to post theories on social media about what may have happened to her, which led to nationwide interest in the case. That widespread interest led to a flood of tips to police that may not have been useful, The Washington Post reported.
Many people are searching for him, but police said Laundrie could be dangerous to himself or those around him.
Morse said that if someone came into contact with Laundrie, they should not interact with him and instead take a photo or video of him discreetly before calling police.
He said his hope for Laundrie’s and Petito’s families was that Laundrie voluntarily turn himself in to authorities if he committed a crime.
“I hope that this person is found and, if he is the perpetrator, he pleads guilty and doesn’t draw this case out, which would cause so much pain for so many people,” Morse said.
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