Arrest Warrant Issued for Brian Laundrie, Days After Gabby Petito’s Body Was Found
Mr. Laundrie is facing a felony charge of debit card fraud in Wyoming after the death of Ms. Petito, his fiancee, on a cross-country trip. The death has been ruled a homicide.,
A federal arrest warrant was unsealed on Thursday in Wyoming for Brian Laundrie, the elusive fiance of Gabby Petito, charging him with debit card fraud as the authorities continued to search for him as a “person of interest” in the investigation into the killing of Ms. Petito.
The single-count indictment, which was filed on Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Cheyenne, Wyo., charged Mr. Laundrie with a single felony count of using unauthorized access devices related to a Capital One bank debit card at the end of last month. The authorities did not say whether the debit card belonged to Ms. Petito.
The move by federal prosecutors came as the search for Mr. Laundrie, 23, continued at a nature reserve in Florida, where his parents said they believed he had gone.
Ms. Petito’s remains were discovered on Sunday on the east boundary of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, two months after the couple began a cross-country adventure, heavily documenting their travels on social media. On Tuesday, the F.B.I. ruled the death of Ms. Petito, 22, a homicide. The specific cause of death is pending final autopsy results.
“While this warrant allows law enforcement to arrest Mr. Laundrie, the F.B.I. and our partners across the country continue to investigate the facts and circumstances of Ms. Petito’s homicide,” Michael Schneider, the special agent in charge of the F.B.I.’s field office in Denver, said in a statement on Thursday.
“We urge individuals with knowledge of Mr. Laundrie’s role in this matter or his current whereabouts to contact the F.B.I.,” Agent Schneider said. “No piece of information is too small or inconsequential to support our efforts in this investigation.”
Steven Bertolino, a lawyer for Mr. Laundrie, did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Thursday night.
The charge against Mr. Laundrie carries a penalty of up to three years in prison and up to a $250,000 fine. Federal prosecutors also filed a motion seeking the pretrial detention of Mr. Laundrie, contending that he poses a flight risk and would try to obstruct justice.
Ms. Petito left with Mr. Laundrie in July in a white Ford van outfitted for a cross-country adventure and was reported missing by her parents on Sept. 11, according to the police.
Ten days earlier, Mr. Laundrie returned to the home in North Port, Fla., where he lived with his parents and Ms. Petito, in the white van that the couple had used for the trip and that was registered to Ms. Petito.
Mr. Laundrie’s parents said last week that they hadn’t seen their son in days, the police have said.
Maria Cramer and Michael Levenson contributed reporting.