A missing woman in Port Charlotte, Florida, turned up dead after being found murdered in a home believed to belong to the husband of a former White House official, Fox News has learned.
“I don’t know if you want to call it a war between police and sheriffs — that’s what it is,” Louis Trione, chief of detectives with Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, told Fox News on Monday.
“[Trione] thought he was talking to somebody and he was very confident he was talking to a runaway … who had not been in trouble and he turned out to be a person of interest.
The Winter Park Police Department searched for suspected killer Brian Laundrie, 20, on Thursday after missing 31-year-old Gabrielle Petito, who had her own run-ins with the law, disappeared.
Petito is believed to have been killed while she was attending classes at Orange State College.
Trione did not elaborate on the nature of his differences with North Port Police Chief Kenton Buckner, whose department handled the initial search.
But soon after Petito’s body was found, Laundrie was captured on surveillance cameras taking at least one trip to where Petito’s remains were discovered and then headed back home.
In a statement to The Daytona Beach News-Journal, Trione said North Port police “allowed [Laundrie] to come home after they were able to get a call from the ‘right’ person and with that said the subject was released.”
Trione refused to expand on his claims when asked by Fox News, referring questions to North Port Police, while he called the agency’s handling of Petito’s case “unbelievable.”
“… [Laundrie] had come home without any identification and no phone number on him or his phone,” Trione continued. “That shouldn’t have happened. This would certainly be considered a kill, based on the chain of events leading up to her body. For the person that’s responsible, he should have been in jail.”
Laundrie was later found the same day driving a truck that belonged to Petito’s father and may be linked to his disappearance.
Trione said North Port Police Chief Buckner should “suspend whoever was in charge of interviewing Laundrie until they have a chance to review this.”
A full investigation into Petito’s murder is ongoing. Buckner was unavailable for comment.
Fox News’ David Cox and Todd Starnes contributed to this report.