Armed officers spotted in Carlton Reserve amid ongoing search for Brian Laundrie

The ongoing search for fugitive Brian Laundrie may have entered a new phase in recent days, as the Daily Mail reports that armed law enforcement officers have now been seen gathering in the Carlton Reserve area of Florida where some believe the wanted man may be hiding.

Though police first entered the swampy, wooded expanses of the Carlton Reserve last month in hopes of spotting the sole person of interest in the death of Gabby Petito, Friday marked the first time police tape was spotted in the area,

North Port, Florida police are reportedly working in collaboration with a number of other agencies, including the FBI, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and more in order to locate Laundrie, who is also wanted on a federal financial fraud charge.

Florida NBC affiliate WFLA made particular note of the existence of the police tape mainly because the outlet’s reporters have been covering the search on a daily basis since September, and none had seen any similar boundaries put in place to date.

Emphasis was also placed on the fact that the police tape was set up at the part of Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park that faces Laundrie’s hometown of North Port, and which serves as an access point to the larger Carlton Reserve in an area also listed on the abandoned vehicle report from September describing the fugitive’s Ford Mustang.

According to The Hill, this week also saw the introduction of a cadaver dog into the Laundrie search, though there has been no information released to suggest that anything of interest had been found as a result.

It remains to be seen whether the notable rise in activity in the area is the result of any specific new tips or information, as local law enforcement and FBI officials have made repeated visits to the swampy surroundings ever since Laundrie disappeared after telling his parents he was leaving to go on a hike.

Amid news last week that the Teton County, Wyoming coroner determined that Petito died of manual strangulation weeks prior to her body being discovered, the interest in finding Laundrie, with whom she had been traveling that part of the country, has only intensified, and with any luck, answers – as well as justice – for her family will be within reach very soon.