Panhandle deputies 'actively checking' trail cam photo that some feel shows Brian Laundrie

Original Facebook image via ‘Sam Bass’ (left), enhanced version (center), and Brian Laundrie as seen in Moab police bodycam video (right)

Deputies in the Florida Panhandle say they are aware of a social media post that some online sleuths feel may show Brian Laundrie, the missing person of interest in the Gabby Petito case, but it does not appear to be leading to any solid intel.

The Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office shared the Facebook post Tuesday morning. The grainy black-and-white deer cam photo, posted by a user who goes by the username ‘Sam Bass,’ shows a male with a backpack walking through the woods.

"I’m not saying this is the guy but whoever was on my trail camera this morning in Baker, Fl strongly fits the description of Brian Laundrie," Sam wrote Monday night.

If the time stamp on the photo is accurate, it was taken Monday just after 6 a.m.

Baker is a small, unincorporated community in northwest Florida, outside of the town of Crestview and not far from the Blackwater River State Forest. It’s also about 500 miles away from the Carlton Reserve in Venice, where law enforcement has resumed searching for Laundrie.

The 23-year-old is a person of interest in the disappearance of his fiancée, Gabby Petito, who was last seen alive in August. The two were traveling together across the country until he returned home to Venice in their converted van without her.

A body was found Sunday in Wyoming, not far from where social media users spotted the van in footage posted by tourists from Tampa. An autopsy is underway Tuesday but investigators believe it is Gabby.

Laundrie himself has not been seen in a week. His parents retrieved his car from the preserve in Venice last week, and law enforcement is now into its third day of searching the swampy 25,000-acre site.


Screenshot of Brian Laundrie from Moab police body camera footage on August 12.

Investigators say they've received tips from social media users that put Laundrie everywhere from hitchhiking in Alabama to boating in the Atlantic.

Meanwhile, Okaloosa deputies said Tuesday morning they were "actively checking" the now-viral Facebook post.

By afternoon, the sheriff's office said deputies were "wrapping up an extensive search that took place in this area to include nearby farmlands. No one - and nothing - of note was located."