A former top FBI counterterrorism official said Brian Laundrie is likely hiding out somewhere he is “being taken care of” — and isn’t camping in the vast Florida nature reserve where the manhunt is focused.
Terry Turchie, a former deputy assistant director of the FBI’s Counterterrorism Division, told Fox News that “people don’t change because they become a fugitive. They tend to try to figure out how they can land in the comfort zone.”
The former G-man, who retired from the bureau in 2001, directed the task force that identified and collared “Unabomber” Theodore Kaczynski and took part in the search for Olympic Park bomber Eric Rudolph in North Carolina.
“Clearly he’s not out in some camp or some cave somewhere on the hard, cold ground or … snake, gator-infested water. He’s somewhere where he’s probably being taken care of,” Turchie told the news outlet.
“When you see how he came running home after something obviously happened, that kind of tells you what he’s probably doing now,” he added.
Laundrie, 23, is the sole person of interest in his girlfriend Gabby Petito’s disappearance and death during the young couple’s ill-fated cross-country trip.
The 22-year-old Long Island native vanished in late August and her body was found at a remote Wyoming campground on Sept. 19, nearly three weeks after Laundrie returned home alone.
Authorities have checked out hundreds of tips and alleged sightings that put the fugitive as far away as the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina — but have focused the search at the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve.
Dog the Bounty Hunter, who joined in on the search, has said he believes the missing man is still alive because he’s a “survivalist” – though Laundrie’s sister Cassandra has described him as a “mediocre” survivalist, according to Fox News.
Turchie described how a major player in the search for Rudolph in the 1990s was a man who shared some of the terrorist’s interests and with whom he chatted in his health food store in North Carolina.
The man eventually provided the feds with valuable information about Rudolph after initially refusing to talk to them because he was fervently anti-government, according to the report.
Turchie said all fugitives “tire eventually, and many of them ended up being on the run for …. well over a decade,” adding that he does not believe Laundrie will remain on the lam for that long.
He said the search process for all fugitives is “essentially the same.”
“You interview as many people who need this person as you can, you continue following that. You talk to neighbors, friends and you look for anything [the fugitive] might have said during a time that he didn’t have this guard up where he hadn’t done anything,” he told Fox News.