By Melissa Alonso, Dakin Andone and Travis Caldwell, CNN
Efforts to locate Brian Laundrie, who faces a federal warrant for arrest, continue over the weekend in the wilderness of Florida’s Carlton Reserve.
Laundrie’s parents told authorities on September 17 that the 23-year-old left their home days earlier with his backpack and said he was headed to the reserve, which has since been the focus of an extensive search by local and federal officers.
Now, two separate rewards totaling $30,000 have been offered to anyone who provides law enforcement officials with Laundrie’s whereabouts.
Boohoff Law, a personal injury law firm, said in a release on its website it is offering a $20,000 reward to be “paid once the investigating law enforcement agency supplies” the firm with “written verification that a tip helped lead to locating” Laundrie.
The law firm, which has multiple offices across Florida, including North Port, said its reward “will remain open for two months starting from the receipt of the tip” by law enforcement.
Meanwhile, a second reward has been offered by Jerry Torres, who said in a tweet Wednesday he was a neighbor of the family of Laundrie’s 22-year-old fiancée Gabby Petito, whose remains were found last Sunday in Wyoming.
Torres wrote that he and his daughter “offer our deepest condolences to the family of Gabby Petito,” adding, “We are offering a reward of $5,000 for tips leading to an arrest.”
Torres said Friday the reward he’s offering had been raised to $10,000, thanks in part to help from people like Steve Moyer, the former deputy chief of police for Sarasota, Florida.
“Money gets people to talk,” Moyer told CNN affiliate WZVN Friday.
On Wednesday, an arrest warrant for Laundrie was issued by the US District Court of Wyoming for the “use of unauthorized devices” related to his activities following the death of Petito.
Laundrie is accused of using a debit card and PIN number for accounts that did not belong to him for charges over $1,000 between the dates of August 30 and September 1, according to the indictment.
An attorney for Laundrie’s family emphasized in a statement that the warrant was not for Petito’s death but related to activities that allegedly took place afterward.
“It is my understanding that the arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie is related to activities occurring after the death of Gabby Petito and not related to her actual demise,” Steve Bertolino said. “The FBI is focusing on locating Brian and when that occurs the specifics of the charges covered under the indictment will be addressed in the proper forum.”
Swampy wilderness remains focus of search
The Carlton Reserve, located in Sarasota County not far from Laundrie’s parents’ home in North Port, is an inhospitable environment spanning nearly 25,000 acres.
“Please be aware, the Carlton Reserve is a vast and unforgiving location at times. It is currently (waist) deep in water in many areas,” North Port police said in one of its updates last week. “This is dangerous work for the search crews as they are wading through gator and snake infested swamps and flooded hiking and biking trails.”
Dozens of law enforcement personnel from multiple agencies have combed the reserve for signs of Laundrie, using drones and bloodhounds as part of the search, North Port Police Department spokesperson Josh Taylor said.
An underwater dive team from the Sarasota Sheriff’s Office who are “called upon to search for evidence of crimes and victims of drowning, water accidents and foul play” was also brought in midweek, according to the sheriff’s office.
“We’re looking through wooded areas, we’re looking through bodies of water, we’re looking through swampy areas,” North Port Police Commander Joe Fussell said in a video shared online Friday. “And we’re deploying the resources to be able to do that. We have air units, we have drones, we have the swamp buggies, air boats, multiple law enforcement agencies, we have ATVs, we have UTVs and we have officers on foot as well.”
Petito memorial service to be held Sunday
Petito and Laundrie embarked on a cross-country trip in June and were visiting national parks. They posted online regularly about their travels with the hashtag #VanLife, but those posts abruptly stopped in late August.
Laundrie returned home with their van on September 1. Petito was reported missing September 11 after her family had not been able to get in touch with her. She was found dead eight days later near a campground in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest.
A memorial visitation for Petito is planned for Sunday afternoon in New York, according to Moloney’s Holbrook Funeral Home, and will be open to the public. Petito grew up on Long Island in the hamlet of Blue Point.
Richard Stafford, an attorney for Petito’s family, confirmed in a statement Friday her funeral would be held Sunday, adding that the family has asked for donations to be made to the future Gabby Petito Foundation in lieu of flowers.
On Saturday night, a butterfly release and candlelight vigil were held at North Port City Hall by residents mourning the loss of Petito.
“It was just not the answer we wanted. But at least she is home with her family and they get to have their closure and peace,” Lisa Correll, who organized the memorial, told CNN affiliate WFTS.
Members of the community are invited to pay tribute at a memorial located in front of City Hall and are free to add to the growing collection of signs, flowers and letters of remembrance, WFTS reported.
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CNN’s Leyla Santiago, Sara Weisfeldt, Christina Maxouris, Jenn Selva, Steve Forrest, Taylor Romine, Laura Ly, Amir Vera and Gregory Lemos contributed to this report.