The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office has positively identified the individual whose image was captured on a deer trail camera near Baker and shared on social media, sparking nationwide speculation that it was missing North Port Florida resident Brian Laundrie.The OCSO has confirmed the man is an Okaloosa County resident who acknowledged he was the one walking on the deer trail carrying his backpack. Several OCSO deputies familiar with the individual noticed the resemblance to the photo of the person spotted on the deer trail, as well as the presence of a neck tattoo.The private citizen was located and a positive identification has been made.During its search and investigation, the OCSO found no indications that Brian Laundrie is, or was, in Okaloosa County.
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BAKER, Fla. (WALA) -- For the second time in the three days, local law enforcement agencies were checking out a possible Brian Laundrie sighting in the area.
He's wanted as a person of interest in Gabby Petito's death.
Tuesday morning, Okaloosa County investigators searched a wooded area near Baker, Florida. A picture from a trail camera was posted on social media showing a man that looked like Laundrie walking in the woods.
The murky, black-and-white image reportedly was captured Monday morning in Baker, Florida, in the Panhandle's Okaloosa County.
It shows a male figure, possibly matching Laundrie's description, walking with two backpacks slung over his shoulder. One of the backpacks appears at least similar to a backpack pictured in an earlier photograph published via Laundrie's Instagram account.
The text accompanying the photo, labeled as written by Sam Bass, states: "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, authorities have been contacted but people in the North West Florida area be on the look out."
Sherrif’s deputies searched the area but were unable to find any evidence that Laundrie was there.
The office posted an update on its Facebook page stating, "The OCSO did its due diligence in response to this report and is wrapping up an extensive search that took place in this area to also include nearby farmlands and a search by drone. No one - and nothing - of note was located. There are no known possible past or current connections between Laundrie and anyone in this area at this time to follow up on.
In the meantime we will remain vigilant and if anything new of significance develops we will share."
FOX10 News talked to people in the area who said they aren't too worried, but the possible sightings are concerning.
“It is alarming but i’m sure the police are doing their best to catch him and bring him to justice," said Mitzi Cochran.
The sheriff's office says the search focused near Shady Grove Church Road and the nearby farmland. Deputies searched on foot and deployed drones for several hours before finishing the search around noon. They were unable to find anything to indicate that Laundrie was in the area.
The sheriff's office said while the active search is over, they will still be on the lookout should there be any more sightings.
Residents said they plan to do the same.
“I will definitely keep my eye out for this guy and if I see him I’ll call my local police department,” said Cochran. “I’m sure that this guy is on the move so I’m sure he’s going to be all over the place. He’s trying not to get caught.”
While Laundrie has no known connections to the area, the sheriff's office asked everyone there to stay vigilant and contact them if anyone sees anything suspicious.