Our story began over 25 years ago when we started our careers in law enforcement and the United States military. Each of us wants to make our community and our country a better and safer place to live. Our law enforcement members were trained to investigate, protect, interview, and arrest. Our military operators were trained in surveillance, intelligence gathering, and recovery operations.
In the fall of 2021, many in our country were glued to their TV’s and computers watching the case of Gabby Petito. Gabby and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie set out on a road trip in her camper van. Her story went viral when she went missing in August 2021. In September, Brian Laundrie returned home alone to Florida and within days he disappeared. Gabby Petito’s body was discovered on September 19, 2021 and Brian Laundrie was named a person of interest in her death.
The Essentials came together to bring our knowledge, skills, and abilities to assist in locating Brian Laundrie. Our team, found evidence that Brian Laundrie and his family members had camped at Ft Desoto Park. For over a month, our team searched over 1,136 acres of this State Park, including five interconnected islands. During our search, we located several items of interest, and those items were provided to law enforcement.
In October, our group changed the focus of the search from Fort Desoto to the Carlton Reserve in North Port, FL. Our group searched the Carlton Reserve for any evidence that Brian Laundrie had been there. Laundrie was ultimately found dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound in the Carlton Reserve on October 20, 2021.
As a result of our efforts in the search for Laundrie, our group realized that many missing person cases go unsolved. This would have such a profound impact on our team we knew we had to do our part to help. This would lead to the creation of the group known as “The Essentials”.
Since the Brian Laundrie search, “The Essentials” have worked on other high-profile cases. Kathleen Moore, a young African American woman went missing on the evening of November 29, 2021 and was last seen in Pasco County, Florida. On December 6, 2021, The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office held a press conference and appealed to the public for help. That same evening our team gathered information from Kathleen Moore’s friends and family. The next morning “The Essentials” located Kathleen Moore’s remains in a wooded area near the suspect’s residence. The suspect Collin Knapp is currently being held at the Pasco County jail and is charged with second degree murder.
Where do "We Are The Essentials" go from here? We continue to evaluate cases where we can best utilize our skill sets to investigate and locate missing persons. Our only goal is to make a difference and help families locate their loved ones. We do not interfere with law enforcement investigations; in fact we work closely with law enforcement on anything we find during our investigations. The Essentials also work closely with the families and friends to gather information that may assist in the ultimate recovery of a missing person.