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NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) — The parents of Brian Laundrie, the lone person of interest in the Gabby Petito case, hope to assist law enforcement in the search for their missing son soon, according to an attorney for the family.
Attorney Steven Bertolino told 8 On Your Side’s Mahsa Saeidi Wednesday night that Chris Laundrie was asked to assist law enforcement in their search for Brian at the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County on Wednesday. According to Bertolino, “North Port police had to postpone Chris’ involvement.”
However, according to North Port Public Information Officer Josh Taylor, it wouldn’t be their police department making that call.
“The FBI is the lead. The NPPD would not be making these decisions and actions,” Taylor said in an email. “The FBI would have to answer if that was true.”
Bertolino told WFLA that Brian’s parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, “are hopeful there will be another opportunity to assist.”
“Since the preserve has been closed to the public, Chris has not been able to look for Brian in the only place Chris and Roberta believe Brian may be,” he said.
When 8 On Your Side asked if the Laundries have agreed to cooperate with law enforcement, Bertolino responded, “They were always willing.”
The search for Brian Laundrie is now in its third week. Activity ramped up at the Carlton Reserve on Wednesday after several days of a scaled-back search.
Laundrie was officially reported missing by his parents on Friday, Sept. 17. At the time, they told police they had last seen him leave home to go to the Carlton Reserve area for a hike on Tuesday, Sept. 14. Bertolino confirmed earlier this week that, after further communication with the FBI, the Laundries now believe their son left home to go hiking on Sept. 13.
“The Laundries were basing the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events,” attorney Steven Bertolino said.
Laundrie was reported missing more than two weeks after police say he returned home to North Port alone from a cross-country trip he had been on with his fiancée Gabby Petito.
Petito was reported missing by her family on Sept. 11. From the beginning of that missing person investigation, Laundrie and his parents vowed to remain in the background. Petito’s family and law enforcement investigating the case had voiced their frustrations with the lack of cooperation and answers.
Laundrie was named a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance on Sept. 15, three days after his parents now say he left to go on a hike in the Carlton Reserve, and two days before he was reported missing.
Petito’s body was found in Wyoming on Sept. 19. A federal arrest warrant was issued for Laundrie on Sept. 23 following a federal grand jury indictment for use of unauthorized access devices after Petito’s death.
The FBI is still searching for Laundrie. His parents have not publicly spoken about his disappearance, nor the investigation into Petito’s death. However, his sister Cassie has spoken to protesters outside her home, as well as ABC’s Good Morning America.