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Dive team joins search at Florida preserve for Brian Laundrie

Dive team joins search at Florida preserve for Brian Laundrie
A Sarasota County, Fla., sheriff's dive team joined the search at a Florida preserve for Brian Laundrie (L), who is a person of interest in the death of Gabby Petito. Photo courtesy of North Port Police/Twitter

Sept. 22 (UPI) -- The Sarasota County sheriff's dive team joined investigators Wednesday at a Florida nature preserve to search for Brian Laundrie, a person of interest in the death of his fiancée Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito.

A Sheriff's Underwater Recovery Force boat pulled up to the Carlton Reserve in Venice one day after police decided to revisit the area in their search for Laundrie.

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Sarasota County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Kaitlyn Perez told CNN there were about 10 divers on the team.

"These divers are specifically trained and very talented in low visibility bodies of water," she said. "They dive down where you and I can't see anything at all. They utilize technology and other special equipment to help them get down deep into really deep bodies of water, so they're out there right now to recover whatever it is that they might find."

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WTVT-TV in Tampa Bay, Fla., reported officials were also using drones, swamp buggies and dogs in their search.

Police had previously searched the 25,000-acre preserve after Laundrie's parents told them he left to go for a hike there Sept. 14, the last day they saw him.

It's unclear why investigators returned to the preserve after their initial search.

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The North Port Police Department in Florida named Laundrie, 23, a person of interest in Petito's death after he returned home to Florida from a road trip without her. The pair traveled from their shared home in Florida to New York before they were set to visit national parks out West in July.

Petito's family reported her missing Sept. 11, saying they last heard from her Aug. 25, when she was believed to have been in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Searchers found human remains in the park Sunday and an autopsy confirmed the body as hers Tuesday.

Laundrie returned to his North Port home -- where his parents also live -- Sept. 1. Police said none of the Laundrie family was cooperative in the search for Petito until Sept. 18, when his parents reported his disappearance.

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A lawyer for Petito's family said Laundrie isn't missing but was instead on the run.

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