November 29, 2021

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Brian Laundrie’s family lawyer addresses speculation over his remains – Insider

3 min read
  • The Laundrie family’s lawyer pushed back on speculation about how Brian’s remains were found.
  • He said Brian’s parents had advised authorities where to look shortly before the remains were found.
  • The idea that his parents had known where the remains were is “not too bright,” the lawyer said.

The lawyer for Brian Laundrie’s family vehemently rebutted speculation about the circumstances in which the 23-year-old’s remains were found, saying that “the public doesn’t understand simplicity.”

Laundrie’s remains were found on Wednesday in Florida’s Carlton Reserve, the FBI said on Thursday, concluding a five-week search in the vast nature reserve.

He had been missing since mid-September, when he went for a hike in the reserve, his parents said. They initially said he went missing on September 14 but later said he vanished on September 13.

The FBI had named Laundrie a person of interest in the killing of his fiancée, Gabby Petito, whose remains were found near a Wyoming campsite on September 19. Her death was ruled a homicide, and a coroner said the cause of death was strangulation.

The couple had embarked on a joint cross-country “van life” road trip in the summer. Petito’s family reported her missing 10 days after Laundrie returned alone to their home in Florida on September 1.

Laundrie’s refusal to help authorities in the search for Petito fueled widespread outrage and speculation about her death. There’s also been speculation about how the search for Laundrie ended shortly after his parents got involved.

A lawyer for the Laundrie family, Steven Bertolino, told Insider’s Azmi Haroun and Natalie Musumeci that Laundrie’s parents, Chris and Roberta, had “advised” authorities where to look when they joined the search on Wednesday.

Bertolino was visibly frustrated while speaking to NewsNation’s Marni Hughes on Thursday night.

“It’s not about knowing specifically where to go,” he told Hughes, saying the logic was simply to “start at the beginning” of the trailhead.

Teams with police officers, FBI agents, and a cadaver-sniffing dog had already searched that area. The police in North Port had also used airboats and ATVs in the search, the local CBS affiliate WINK News reported.

Authorities in North Port posted a video of the search on YouTube:

But the area where Laundrie’s remains were found had been underwater in September, Michael McPherson, an FBI special agent, said at a press conference on Wednesday.

A tweet on September 24 from Josh Taylor, the North Port public-information officer, illustrated the flooding in the reserve:

Bertolino said on Thursday that after the flooding receded, Chris Laundrie was able to find a white bag belonging to his son, leading authorities to Brian’s remains nearby.

Kyle Heyen, a K-9 handler and former police officer, questioned this, telling NewsNation on Wednesday that it was “highly suspicious” that a dog would have missed the remains.

“If the body had been there, when they went by with cadaver dogs, and the body had been there for more than two or three minutes, the odor would have come through the water,” Heyen said.

Bertolino was visibly frustrated when Hughes pressed him on Thursday on the finding. “It just so happened that that’s where Brian was,” he said. “So my thought would be anybody who’s questioning that is not too bright.”

He added, “The public doesn’t understand simplicity.”

Addressing rumors on social media that the Laundries could have planted the remains, Bertolino said that the FBI, the police, and journalists had seen the find.

“When do you think these items were planted? And do you really think the Laundries had skeletal remains of their son in a plastic bag and brought them to the preserve?” he said.

He added, “If I’m the only one who has to say that this is hogwash, because I didn’t want to say the word ‘bullshit,’ then I’m going to say it: It’s bullshit.”

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