On Sept. 1, Laundry returned to the Florida couple’s North Harbor in Petito’s van, returning home from a cross country road trip the couple had begun over the summer, police said. Petito’s remains were later found in Teton County, Wyoming.
Dozens of agencies, including the FBI, the North Harbor Police Department, the Florida Wildlife Commission, several sheriff’s offices and K9 search and rescue teams, have been searching the reserve since Laundry’s parents first spoke to police on Sept. 17.
CNN asked survival experts, can it survive if it has been in the laundry reserve since mid-September? Here is what they said.
It depends on his materials and experience
In an ABC interview aired last week, Laundry’s sister, Casey Laundry, said she had previously traveled up to five days on the Appalachian route. She said her brother was a “normal survivalist.”
Robert Urban, founder and head coach of the Urban Survival Academy, believes that someone who is not professionally trained in career tactics cannot hold a balance for this long.
“Florida’s climate is very harsh,” Urban told CNN. “I’m an expert with a lot of experience, I will do everything I can to survive (more) for more than three weeks. As an inexperienced person, you can not be lucky and can not live in that kind of climate.”
“When you’re tired, you’re not so defensive, you’re not as alert as you should be,” Urban said.
Jason Marsteiner, founder and president of Survival University, said he struggles when he sends his project coaches into the woods — a week after they finish their 50-day course.
“Twenty-five days in that area was very difficult. I didn’t want to do that. I got wild training, I got mountain training,” he said. “He’s not sleeping well. When you do not sleep, you ‘ll slowly drive yourself crazy, so he’s making bad decisions, bad choices, which I think will lead to finding or hurting or destroying him.”
He will need shelter, water and food
But the laundry will have to process and cook the food he collects, and if his water filtration system fails, he will have to find another way to disinfect the water. For those two things he had to start a fire. But Northern Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor told CNN’s Randy Guy on Friday that he had not found the body evidence of the laundry in the reserve. Police also denied finding a recently used camp location – information given to CNN from a source close to the laundry family.
“If the fire started (laundry) he didn’t want to find or see, I think it would be very difficult for him to be there for a long time,” Canterbury said. But he said the laundry in his bag might have been enough to survive this long.
Alan McQueen, a herdsman and outdoor worker who lives near the reserve, says the area feels like “mud,” and the reserve areas reach knee-deep and deep water levels — making it very difficult to camp in that forest.
“The palms there are just enough to throw you off, when you walk through them, when you stumble,” McQueen told CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Friday night. “Mosquitoes will take you away. If someone leaves for more than a day without spraying mosquito repellent, the bugs will get you and you’ll go crazy with everything else.”
“There is no way anyone can survive there,” he added. “nobody is here.”
As Byrne Kerns, founder of the Itzad Outdoor Survival School, sees it, the immediate need for laundry will be water, and if he has a water filtration pump with him, it will last him a gallon. But after three weeks, the laundry needs food, and if he has no training and does not have the right tools, it can be tricky to know what to eat and how to get it.
“Bugs can be a source of protein in the wilderness, but does he know it?” Kerns said.
Experts think he may or may not be alive
Laundry family lawyer Steven Bertolino answered CNN’s “hopeful” question that Laundry is still alive. Northern Port Police spokeswoman Taylor told CNN it was “definitely possible” that the laundry was alive.
“There is nothing to suggest one way or the other,” Taylor said in an email.
Survival experts spoke to CNN, which seems to agree that laundry is no longer alive or in existence.
“(The officers) are probably looking for some of the best men in the nation and they have not found any trace of him,” Marsteiner said. “At 25,000 acres, it looks big, but if many people are looking for that area it really isn’t.”
It is not very possible for him to camp and avoid search teams looking for him, Urban added.
“Some untrained guys aren’t going to miss an expert team like walking down the aisle,” Urban said, just hoping the laundry isn’t in place or alive there.
Even in the laundry archive, if not alive, it would be hard to find him to go on for more days, with the movement of water and sand, with the animals passing through, the township added. But there were no signs that the laundry was dead.
“If you find something dead there, birds are going to fly everywhere,” McQueen told Cuomo on Friday. “You can not see any bazaars flying anywhere, and buzzards do not fly in any direction of this place.”
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