Police are probing a photo taken on a cellphone on Friday of a man who looks and resembles a lot like Long Island woman Gabby Petito's missing boyfriend Brain Laundrie. The man photographed looks exactly like Laundrie, who vanished this week after being named a person of interest in Petito's mysterious disappearance.
It's not known if the man in the photo is actually the real Laundrie or a lookalike, which police is now investigating. Meanwhile, police halted their search for Laundrie in the Florida swamps at nightfall on Saturday, with no positive results.
Who is This Man?
Police started probing after a photo taken on the cellphone of a passerby emerged on Saturday in which the man snapped looks exactly like Laundrie. The photo was taken just before 5 pm on Friday on Targee Ave in North Port, just about two blocks from Laundrie's parents' home, metadata from the image reveals.
Interestingly, Laundrie too vanished on that day. The image shows a bald-headed, clean-shaven man much of the age of Laundrie walking on a road. Authorities after having a look at the photograph said that the man has similar build to Laundrie.
Laundrie is seen walking casually in flip-flops and wearing headphones. Cops are aware of the photo â and are investigating, said Josh Taylor, the spokesman for the North Port Police Department.
The photograph was snapped by passerby Zachary Randazzo about an hour and a half before investigators from the North Port Police Department reached the home of Laundrie's parents after their attorney called the FBI to report him missing, metadata from the image shows.
The photo has now left both police and people baffled, with many now speculating that Laundrie may have fled his parents' home after learning that police would be showing up there.
The man in the photo also appears to have tattoos on his left arm, said Taylor. "Not looking like him. Tattoo on left arm ... but we are going to make sure," he said. However, even police is now confused after seeing that photo and have admitted that they are not ruling out chances that the man in photo is indeed Laundrie.
"We're not 100 percent sure, but it looks so close I don't know how it couldn't be him," he added. Meanwhile, police are on a manhunt for Laundrie in T. Mabry Carlton Reserve, a nearby Sarasota County wildlife refuge but have returned empty handed after the first day's search on Saturday.
Laundrie has been silent about Petito's disappearance and had refused to cooperate with authorities since returning to their Florida home alone on September 1 after he along with Petito went on a summertime road trip across the country.
Petito's family reported she was missing on September 5, around 10 days after she sent her last text to her mother. Police is now not only trying to find out what happened to Petito during the cross-country trip but also figure out Laundrie's whereabouts.