A family attorney addressed questions on Wednesday in connection with Brian Laundrie, a Florida fugitive who disappeared after reportedly leaving his fiancee, Gabby Petito, in Wyoming, where she was found deceased.
While speaking with CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday night, attorney Steve Bertolino addressed rumors that Laundrie’s parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, planted evidence in Florida’s Carlton Reserve, where Brian Laundrie’s belongings and partial remains, including a skull, were found Wednesday morning.
The speculation began after the Laundries found some of their son’s belongings the first time they searched the Carlton Reserve. It’s something that authorities had failed to do since September 17, when they began searching the same area for Laundrie.
When the initial search for Laundrie began, the waters were much higher, making it difficult, the FBI said Wednesday. When the water receded, authorities found partial human remains that Bertolino said were likely Laundrie.
Police said a backpack and a notebook belonging to Laundrie were found, but social media users have theorized that the parents planted the evidence there, given how quickly they found the items. Some theorized that remains may have also been planted.
“In nice terms, it’s hogwash,” Bertolino said. “Chris and Roberta went to this area first and as happenstance was, they stumbled upon these items.”
“Fortunately for the Laundries, the press was following them the whole time.”
The lawyer added that the area where the remains were found was the “very area of the park that we initially informed law enforcement on.”
Bertolino also addressed questions concerning the parents’ lack of communication, not only with the public but with the Petito family, who reported Gabby missing on September 11.
“Ultimately, you know, this is the advice I gave them. This is the advice they’re taking, and that’s on me,” he said. “I’m the one who told them not to talk. That’s been on me from day one. That’s not on the family.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Laundrie was wanted on a felony warrant following the death of Petito. Laundrie and Petito embarked on their cross-country trip in July, but by September 1, Laundrie returned to his parents’ North Port, Florida, home with Gabby’s van, but without Gabby.
On September 19, authorities found Gabby’s deceased body in a remote area at the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. According to Teton County coroner, Dr. Blue, Gabby died from strangulation; her death has been listed as a homicide.
Authorities issued the warrant for Laundrie after he allegedly used a Capitol One Bank debit card without permission following Gabby’s death. Laundrie is said to have used the card between August 30 and September 1, “knowingly and with intent to defraud.”
Meanwhile, positive identification of the remains could take days or even weeks, police said.
“The probability is strong that it is Brian’s remains, but we’re going to wait for the forensic results to come in and verify that,” Bertolino said.
Check back for updates.
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