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Lee County Sheriff's Office provides heat-seeking drone technology in search for Brian Laundrie

Drone Footage from Carlton Reserve.jpg
Posted at 8:37 PM, Sep 23, 2021

VENICE, Fla. — More than half a dozen law enforcement agencies are now assisting in the search for Brian Laundrie. Local agencies tell ABC Action News that collaboration is crucial when it comes to a case like this.

They’re searching an area larger than the city of Clearwater, and the terrain inside the Carlton Reserve is rough, to say the least.


“It’s not only just walking through grass, but this could be in areas that we can’t even access, so our agriculture unit is out there working as well. All hands on deck,” said Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno.

For the last five days, the Lee County Sheriff’s Office has been using their latest drone technology, the Dragonfish, to assist in the search.

“It can go over 18.6 miles away from the operator while we’re viewing exactly what it’s seeing. It has all the capabilities our helicopter does. The infrared, the FLIR,” said Sheriff Marceno.

Whether day or night, Sheriff Marceno says there’s no hiding from this drone.

“It’s able to scan a 25,000 square parcel that may be underwater, you may have trees, debris, grass, whatever it may be, but still be heat-seeking, so if someone happens to be hiding or there is a person somewhere, we’re gonna find them,” said Sheriff Marceno.

It can stay in the air for up to two hours, and it can maneuver to places that a helicopter may not be able to, at a fraction of the cost.

“Where a helicopter costs $2,000 an hour roughly, give or take, our drone is $0.75 an hour,” said Sheriff Marceno.

But whatever the cost, he says they’ll do what they can to bring this search to an end.

“We want to find, we want to conclude this investigation. It’s tragic, our thoughts and prayers are with the family, but we will do everything we can to bring closure,” said Sheriff Marceno.

Sheriff Marceno also says that the Lee County Sheriff’s Office is the only agency assisting in this search that is able to provide something like the Dragonfish, proving how important it is that these agencies are all working together.