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Brian Laundrie - update: Man mistaken for fugitive and ‘ambushed’ as Florida search pulled back

Watch live as coroner gives update on Gabby Petito autopsy

A man resembling Brian Laundrie found himself handcuffed by US Marshals after someone misidentified him as the fugitive.

He was hiking the Appalachian Trail and taking a day off at a resort when he was detained. The federal agents recommended he shave his beard to avoid further complications.

Meanwhile, North Port Police reported that they found no new evidence of Mr Laundrie’s location in the Carlton Reserve on Friday. Police and FBI have been searching the 25,000-acre nature preserve – where Mr Laundrie was reportedly hiking alone – for more than a month and have employed the use of a human remains-detecting dog in their efforts. On Monday it appeared the police and FBI were scaling back their search in the swamps.

Authorities have previously said there is believed to be a 50 per cent change that Mr Laundrie is still alive.

Earlier this week, Dave Aronberg, State Attorney for Palm Beach County, has suggested that “murder charges are imminent.”

Moments after the autopsy results were revealed on Tuesday. Mr Aronberg tweeted: “Gabby Petito’s death was previously ruled a homicide.

“Today we learned that the cause of death was strangulation. This most likely means that murder charges are imminent.”

Teton County coroner Dr Brent Blue revealed that Ms Petito was killed by manual strangulation. According to Dr Blue, Ms Petito died 3-4 weeks before her body was located on 19 September. The coroner said that, under Wyoming state law, he could only release the manner and cause of death. All other details concerning the autopsy are not yet open to the public.

On Thursday, Ms Petito’s body was released to her parents, who are currently in Wyoming, after the weeks-long autopsy. Her body was then sent to a local mortuary for cremation.

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Would it have taken longer to find Gabby Petito’s remains without the media frenzy?

Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue chastised the media coverage of the the Gabby Petito case, pointing out that other domestic violence cases do not get nearly the same attention.

The Independent’s Andrew Buncombe says the doctor is correct, but points out that without the media coverage of the case, Ms Petito’s remains may have stayed hidden for far longer.

Read his argument below...

We need to tell everybody’s stories, not just one type of person or group or race, Andrew Buncombe is told

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What happens if Brian Laundrie is never caught?

What would happen if Brian Laundrie is never found?

Could he be tried in absentia? What if he has died? Can he be tried posthumously? Have other fugitives disappeared without a trace?

The Independent’s Graig Graziosi answers those questions below...

Can Mr Laundrie be tried even if he is never found?

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Protesters leave sign reading “no trespassing, they’re tired of hiding bodies” on the Laundrie’s front lawn

Protesters having been shouting at and picketing Brian Laundrie’s family for weeks, with some leaving signs - or in at least one case a laundry basket filled with cleaning supplies - on their lawn.

Over the weekend, Chris Laundrie, Mr Laundrie’s father, tore away a sign that read “What if it was Cassie?” which was referencing his daughter.

Today a protester appears to have left a sign in the yard that reads “no trespassing, they’re tired of hiding bodies.”

To be clear: neither Brian Laundrie nor his parents have been charged with Gabby Petito’s death. Mr Laundrie has been charged with fraud relating to her debit card.

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North Port police have no substantive updates on search for Brian Laundrie

Reporters in Florida asked the North Port police to update them on the state of the search for Brian Laundrie. The press gathered in North Port was especially curious as there has been no search activity at the swamp today.

According to a police spokesman, there are no updated, but the case is still ongoing and still being led by the FBI.

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ICYMI: Dog the Bounty Hunter reportedly leaves search for Brian Laundrie

Duane Chapman, aka Dog the Bounty Hunter, reportedly left the search for Brian Laundrie last week.

The move comes after Mr Chapman announced he planned to leave the search and nurse an injured ankle, but reversed course after a slew of headlines proclaimed he was “quitting.”

Mr Chapman stayed in Florida for several days before reversing course again and leaving for Colorado, saying he would return the moment a “solid lead” arose. He claims his team will remain in the state and continue searching for Mr Laundrie while he is away.

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Brian Laundrie look-a-like ambushed by armed US Marshals

A man who resembles Brian Laundrie found himself staring down US Marshal pistols after a witness mistook him for the fugitive.

The Independent’s Graig Graziosi has more on the man’s harrowing encounter with federal agents below...

‘He does look like Brian Laundrie, but so do thousands of other people’

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Carlton Reserve reportedly “quiet” this morning

The Carlton Reserve, where Brian Laundrie was believed to be hiding, is reportedly quiet today.

Last week, police - led by the FBI - brought human remain sniffing dogs into the reserve. The next day, a large group of officers entered the swamps with rifles, but a police spokesman said they were participating in a training exercise.

On Monday, reporters noted little activity around the reserve. Whether that means the police have given up on searching the swamp or simply refocused their efforts remains to be seen.

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Gabby Petito Foundation brings in nearly $14,000 after first fundraiser

The Gabby Petito Foundation - established by the woman’s parents in the wake of her death - held a fundraiser over the weekend that brought in nearly $14,000.

The six-hour event featured food, live bands and an auction and was attended by hundreds of people.

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Brian Laundrie look-a-like ambushed by armed federal agents while hiking the Appalachian Trail

US Marshals pulled their guns on a man from upstate New York who was napping near the Appalachian Trial. While the man bears a strong resemblance to Brian Laundrie, in reality he is Severin Beckwith, who was traveling with his wife along the trail.

Mr Beckwith was eventually cleared after US Marshals confirmed his identity, The New Yorker reports.

According to the hiker, the US Marshals advised him to shave his beard. Mr Beckwith believes someone at the hotel he was visiting saw him and possibly even photographed him before handing the pictures over to the police.

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A student wellbeing team is warning women not to ‘get spiked’ – yes, apparently that’s our responsibilty too

Another day, another classic example of victim blaming: this time, it’s courtesy of Durham University’s student wellbeing team, which recently launched a campaign against spiked drinks.

So far, so good, you might think – except for one vital component. For, rather than coming down hard on the male perpetrators who slip so-called “date rape” drugs into women’s drinks, the campaign seemingly places all of the responsibility on... women.

“Don’t get spiked”, the post reads. “Contact the police as soon as possible after a suspected incident of drink spiking.”

Victoria Richards has more:

‘Don’t get spiked’, reads a new campaign from Durham University’s student wellbeing team – when the message should clearly be, ‘don’t spike women’s drinks’