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Hours before Gabby Petito vanished, Brian Laundrie was seen publicly raging in a restaurant.

Days after her disappearance and murder, Brian returned home to Florida without explanation … or Gabby.

After refusing to cooperate with authorities searching for his fiancee, he slipped out of sight and off of the grid.

There is now a federal arrest warrant out for Brian … and authorities fear that he is a flight risk.

Brian Laundrie

On Thursday, September 23, the FBI office in Denver published a tweet related to the Gabby Petito murder investigation.

"On September 22, 2021, the U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a federal arrest warrant for Brian Christopher Laundrie," the tweet began.

The FBI noted that this is "pursuant to a Federal Grand Jury indictment related to Mr. Laundrie’s activities following the death of Gabrielle Petito."

As you may have surmised from looking at the tweet, it does not say that he is being arrested on suspicion of murder.

While Gabby’s death was ruled a homicide, the investigation is ongoing and there is a tremendous amount of information to process.

Investigators have to analyze information taken from Brian’s family home and the office of the medical examiner will likely have more to add in time.

Photo via Instagram

So what is this arrest warrant all about if it’s not about the abuse and murder of Brian’s late fiancee?

It’s not actually unrelated … but it has to do with misuse of a credit card.

Investigators accuse Brian of using an unauthorized Capital One Bank card between August 30 and September 1.

Brian Laundrie Photo

During that time, Gabby was almost certainly already deceased — as the medical examiner has likely determined.

Yet Brian allegedly used the card to withdraw more than $1,000, apparently for multiple purchases.

The official press release does not actually say that it was Gabby’s card, but … that seems likely.

Photo via Instagram

If it was Gabby’s card, then her murderer — but presumably, only her murderer — would have known that Gabby no longer needed the money.

Everyone is free to draw conclusions but what it means if Brian truly did use her card while she was "missing."

Then, everyone has been drawing very reasonable conclusions since they heard about a 22-year-old missing girl and her not-missing fiance.

The timing of this is interesting, since Brian returned to Florida — without Gabby or any explanation — on September 1.

By that point, the FBI was already asking the public for help in finding her.

Gabby was formally reported missing on September 11 … a short time before Brian pulled his vanishing act.

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie

As we noted, the federal grand jury and ensuing warrant were not actually about Gabby’s murder.

If it was her card that was used illegally, then the courts are — at least on paper — seeking justice for her money before the do for her.

However that may sound, this is not a bad thing.

Photo via Instagram

Investigators know that there is a tremendous amount of public scrutiny on this case.

While in many ways, this is helpful — literally millions of eyes are searching for Brian — it comes with downsides.

It is very likely that "whoever" is ultimately prosecuted for Gabby’s murder could end up with an extremely skilled defense team who are seeking publicity.

Pro bono defense attorneys are not a bad thing — it’s part of a functioning legal system.

But it also means that investigators likely do not have any margin for error when it comes to each step of the investigation.

Issuing a warrant prematurely or screwing up paperwork could have devastating legal consequences in the coming months and years.

Gabby Petito and a Winged Mural

Interestingly, TMZ reports that prosecutors have filed a motion requesting that Brian be held without bail before his trial.

That motion clearly indicates that this is about more than a credit card, which we already knew.

The motion also tells us that authorities believe Brian to be a serious flight risk and a potential danger to the public.