Brian Laundrie and his parents did go for an overnight camping trip at Florida’s Fort De Soto Park in early September, but all three of them left the grounds together, the family’s lawyer says.
What to Know
- The FBI’s prime person of interest in Gabby Petito’s disappearance, her fiance Brian Laundrie, has been missing for more than two weeks
- The 23-year-old vanished after allegedly telling his family he was going for a hike in a Florida nature preserve on Sept. 14
- His parents recently released a statement saying that they did not help Brian leave their home or avoid arrest, calling such rumors they had any involvement in his disappearance “just wrong”
A Florida county sheriff’s office has turned surveillance video of a campground Gabby Petito’s fiancé, Brian Laundrie, and his parents visited overnight in early September to FBI agents investigating the young woman’s death and disappearance, local officials confirm. They didn’t say what it showed.
The Laundrie family attorney, Steve Bertolino, confirmed the trio went to Fort De Soto Park, about a 64-mile drive from the vast nature reserve where the FBI and local law enforcement have been looking for Laundrie since he vanished 15 days ago, from Sept. 6 to Sept. 7. Bertolino says all three left the camp together.
On Thursday, Bertolino also confirmed a new phone purchase on Sept. 4, shortly before the family went to Fort De Soto Park. The lawyer says Brian Laundrie opened an AT&T account for that phone but left it at home the day he supposedly went for that Carlton Reserve hike and never returned.
The FBI is also now in possession of that phone, Bertolino confirmed.
The family’s departure from the park was six days after Brian Laundrie returned to his Florida home alone in the white van he and Petito had taken on their cross-country road trip and a week before he disappeared.
That overnight camping trip was also four days before Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, reported her missing on Sept. 11, though investigators have said the young woman’s cellphone had been turned off since about Aug. 27.
Bertolino’s brief comment came a day after he said Laundrie’s’ parents described any rumor that they helped their son get out of the house or evade arrest as “just wrong,” amid mounting, and thus far unfounded, speculation about their potential involvement in Brian Laundrie’s vanishing act.
The message was aimed at crowds that once again lined up outside the family’s home in North Port, using a bullhorn to voice their frustration with the family, implying that the parents know more than what they are letting on. Police have said that Laundrie’s parents are still not cooperating with the investigation.
An attorney for the Petito family said as much at a Long Island press conference Tuesday, where they launched a new foundation to help families with missing children as they continue the insurmountable task of grieving their own loss.
“The Laundries did not help us find Gabby. They’re sure as not gonna help us find Brian,” family attorney Richard Stafford said. “For Brian, we’re asking you to turn yourself in to the FBI or the nearest law enforcement agency.”