The Laundrie family attorney says that FBI investigators knew Brian Laundrie had left his parents’ Florida home on September 13, but no one was concerned at that point that “Brian had hurt himself or wasn’t coming home.”
As CrimeOnline previously reported, Brian Laundrie’s decomposed body was found Wednesday and identified using dental records the following day. But Steven Bertolino, the Laundries’ attorney, said an autopsy was inconclusive as regards to Laundrie’s cause or manner of death, and his remains will be further examined by an anthropologist.
The remains were found in Carlton Reserve, where he reportedly went hiking not two weeks after he returned to Florida alone from a cross-country road trip with his girlfriend, Gabby Petito. Petito was reported missing two days before Laundrie reportedly went hiking, and her strangled body was found at a remote Wyoming campsite on September 19.
Reporters and the general public have pondered the timing of Brian Laundrie’s disappearance. Bertolino, who said he had been the Laundries’ attorney for 20 years, initially said that Chris and Roberta Laundrie said their son left on September 14 and they retrieved his car two days later, but they changed the date to September 13, a Monday, when a reporter provided video of the car in the Laundries’ driveway a day earlier than they said. And they didn’t formally report him missing until Friday, September 17.
“We didn’t think he was missing,” Bertolino said during a lengthy and at times contentious interview with News Nation’s Ashley Banfield. “He went out on a hike. … It wasn’t thought of that he was missing until Wednesday or Thursday.”
Bertolino said he had “multiple conversations with the FBI on Sunday, Monday, and Tuesday” after the missing person report for Petito was filed. He said he “reported to the FBI in a normal conversation that Brian didn’t return after he went on his hike.” “I know I reported it on Day One,” he said, but later told Banfield to “drop the word ‘reported’.”
“I was having conversations with the FBI a couple of times a day,” he said. “In my cone with the FBI … I mentioned to the FBI that. by the way, Brian didn’t come home.
At that time, he said, neither he nor the Laundries were concerned. “They thought he was clearing his mind,” the attorney said.
Bertolino took issue with North Port Police Department spokesman Josh Taylor saying that “it was news to us” on September 17 when police investigators learned Laundrie had left home earlier in the week and hadn’t been seen or heard from since. Just a day earlier, North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison told reporters — twice — that police knew “exactly” where Brian Laundrie was, when in truth, no one did.
Bertolino said that while he found it hard to believe the FBI didn’t tell police Laundrie had reportedly gone hiking, he added, “It is not my responsibility to communicate between the FBI and North Port Police Department.”
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[Featured image: Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito/Instagram]