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Body found in North Carolina national park not connected to Brian Laundrie, FBI says: Updates

Brian Laundrie is a person of interest in the death of his girlfriend.

A massive search is continuing in Florida for Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend of Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old woman who went missing on a cross-country trip and who authorities confirmed as the body discovered in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.

The search for the 23-year-old Laundrie is centered around North Port, Florida, where investigators said Laundrie returned to his home on Sept. 1 without Petito but driving her 2012 Ford Transit.

Laundrie has been named by police as a "person of interest" in Petito's disappearance. Laundrie has refused to speak to the police and has not been seen since Tuesday, Sept. 14, according to law enforcement officials.

The search for Laundrie is the latest twist in the case that has grabbed national attention as he and Petito had been traveling across the country since June, documenting the trip on social media.

Petito's parents, who live in Long Island, New York, reported her missing on Sept. 11 after not hearing from her for two weeks.


Body found in North Carolina national park not connected to Brian Laundrie: FBI

The discovery over the weekend of a body in the Blue Ridge Parkway National Park in North Carolina is not connected to the search for wanted fugitive Brian Laundrie, according to the FBI.

While law enforcement agencies have investigated several tips of Laundrie being spotted in North Carolina along the Appalachian Trail, which cuts through the Blue Ridge Parkway, officials said none of the purported sightings have panned out.

On Saturday afternoon, a Blue Ridge Parkway visitor discovered a body of a man below the park's Yadkin Valley Overlook, according to a statement from the National Parks Service. The identity of the body and a cause of death are pending the results of an autopsy, officials said.

The FBI, which is leading a nationwide search for Laundrie, released a statement to ABC affiliate station WSOC-TV in Charlotte on Sunday saying that while the discovery is part of an ongoing investigation, "At this time, there is no evidence to connect or any reason to believe it is related to the search for fugitive Brian Laundrie."


Brian Laundrie's father joins police in search for son: Attorney

The father of wanted fugitive Brian Laundrie joined law enforcement officers in the search for his son on Thursday, the family's attorney told ABC News.

Chris Laundrie began assisting police Thursday morning in the ongoing search of the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve, near his home in North Port, said attorney Steven Bertolino.

He said the father has been asked to point out any favorite trails or spots in the nature preserve that his son favored. Chris Laundrie and his wife, Roberta, verbally told investigators roughly three weeks ago where their son may have gone in the preserve, but now searchers believe the father's on-site assistance may be more beneficial, Bertolino said.

The preserve has been closed to the public and the Laundries as well. The parents, according to Bertolino, have been cooperating since the search began.


Authorities to allow Laundrie's father to assist with search, attorney says

Steven Bertolino, the Laundrie family attorney, told ABC News Wednesday that authorities are going to allow Chris Laundrie, Brian Laundrie's father, to assist with the search at the Carlton Reserve.

Investigators don't currently have more details on when he will join the search.

The Sarasota County Sheriff's Office told ABC News they provided aerial support Wednesday for a search of the area.

-ABC News' Whitney Lloyd and Alondra Valle



Brian Laundrie left parents’ home to hike day earlier than parents originally told investigators

Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino confirmed to ABC News Tuesday night that the family now believes Brian Laundrie left to hike the Carlton Reserve on Monday, Sept. 13. Previously, they had told investigators he left on Tuesday, Sept. 14.

“The Laundries were basing the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events. Upon further communication with the FBI and confirmation of the Mustang being at the Laundrie residence on Wednesday September 15, we now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday September 13,” Bertolino said.

-ABC News' Kristin Thorne and Alondra Valle