Is Brian Laundrie’s family hiding a possible killer?
It’s been all over every news outlet & social media platform for weeks. The tragic events that played out in the media chronicling the disappearance and subsequent death of Gabby Petito captured the minds of an entire nation. But the questions surrounding what transpired following the discovery of her body still permeate every corner of this mystery.
One of the biggest questions revolves not around Brian Laundrie, Petito’s fiance, but his family. When he turned back up in Florida in their van without Petito, he wasn’t forthcoming about what happened, and his parents were equally as tightlipped. Now that Laundrie is in the wind, questions about his parent’s involvement in his disappearance continue unanswered.
Brian Laundrie’s disappearance
Laundrie returned to his family’s home on September 1st in the van he shared with Petito, but she was not with him. In the following days, Petito’s family could not get any answers from Brian Laundrie or his parents. They reported her missing on September 11th, and the police began the search for her.
On September 14th, Petito’s family released a statement begging Laundrie and his family for help, “the one person that can help find Gabby refuses to help.” After Laundrie’s attorney responded that they would be “remaining in the background,” the police secured a warrant to search the van, discovering an external hard drive.
Over the next few days, a flurry of activity takes place. Brian Laundrie is named a person of interest in the case but refused to make himself available for an interview. The police held a press conference, asking the public for help. “Two people went on a trip. One person returned. And that person that returned isn’t providing us any information,” said Police Chief Todd Garrison.
Six days after Petito went missing, Laundrie disappeared. Police entered the Laundrie home to search the property, and Laundrie’s parents claimed they hadn’t seen him since September 14th.
The search for Brian Laundrie
More than 50 North Port police officers, FBI agents, and members of other law enforcement agencies search the 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve in Sarasota, Florida. They start the search there because his family says it’s where he went earlier in the week with just a backpack.
Authorities use drones, scent-sniffing dogs, and all-terrain vehicles in the reserve, which has more than 100 miles of trails & campgrounds. Investigators took some of his clothing from his parents’ home Friday night to provide a scent for the search dogs.
When Petito’s body was found on September 19th, police announced they were no longer focusing their search efforts on the Carlton Reserve and instead refocused their search on the Laundrie home. The authorities entered the house with suitcases & documents, staying for eight hours before towing away a Mustang.
Speculation has run rampant that Brian Laundrie’s parents assisted him in hiding & fleeing the area to avoid capture. These rumors have been bolstered by a neighbor’s eyewitness account claiming the Laundries left their home in a camper days before Brian was reported missing and camera footage seemingly showing Laundrie in rural areas.
Along with pleas from law enforcement & media to the Laundrie family for assistance in finding their son, protestors have set up outside of their home with bullhorns. One protestor was assaulted by a neighbor when he trespassed on their property.
Meanwhile, celebrity sleuths have put their talents to work. Unsolved Mystery’s Jon Walsh offered tips to assist law enforcement in finding Brian Laundrie, and Duane Chapman, “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” has launched his own parallel search.
Chapman claims that he received an anonymous tip that Brian Laundrie and his parents were recently camping in Fort DeSoto campground. This unconfirmed lead led to Chapman knocking on the front door of the Laundrie home, which prompted them to call 911.
Petito’s funeral was held on Sunday, where her father urged women to leave abusive relationships. A press conference for the Laundrie family was planned but later canceled on the advice of the FBI.