NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) — The lawyer for the Laundrie family said Friday night that Brian Laundrie‘s parents were not initially concerned that their son would have hurt himself after he went hiking in the Carlton Reserve.
In an interview with News Nation’s Ashleigh Banfield, attorney Steve Bertolino said Chris and Roberta Laundrie knew that Brian Laundrie would at times go hiking for days with no problem. At the time, Bertolino said, they thought their son was trying to get away from the speculation around the disappearance and death of his fianceé, Gabby Petito.
“He’s a young man; they weren’t concerned,” he said. “They thought he was … clearing his mind.”
This counters a statement by Josh Taylor, North Port’s public information officer, where he said he thought the parents believed their son could have committed suicide from the beginning.
“I think that’s been on the table from the beginning,” Taylor said in an interview with News Nation’s Brian Entin.
Bertolino said the family only became concerned on Friday, Sept. 17, after getting a tip that Brian Laundrie was possibly seen in Tampa.
When asked why he reported Laundrie’s disappearance on Sept. 13, Bertolino said he didn’t report Brian Laundrie as missing. He said he had a conversation with an FBI contact on Monday, Sept. 13 or Tuesday, Sept. 14 in which he just mentioned that Brian Laundrie had not come home from his trip yet.
However, this contradicts an earlier statement he said in the same interview that the FBI had documented evidence that he reported Brian Laundrie missing to the bureau on Monday, Sept. 13.
“I know that I reported it on day one,” Bertolino said.
However, local officers did not know about Brian Laundrie not being at his parents’ house until later that week, as stated by both Bertolino and Taylor.
“They had no idea that the FBI knew about this,” Bertolino said. “They were completely shocked, completely shocked to learn that Brian wasn’t in the house”
According to tweets by Entin, North Port police officers had kept tabs on Brian Laundrie prior to his disappearance, even placing surveillance cameras around the home before his disappearance.
One of the things I held off on reporting — but now will because Brian Laundrie is confirmed dead.— Brian Entin (@BrianEntin) October 23, 2021
Police installed hidden cameras around the house — including this camera in a neighbor’s yard behind the house. This particular camera was installed after Brian went missing. pic.twitter.com/RgNeC4wSUw
Despite these measures, Taylor said police officers missed Brian Laundrie leaving for the Carlton Reserve. The city spokesperson said at the time, their measures were limited due to the lack of charges.
“I don’t know that any investigation works 100 percent like you want it to, 100 percent perfectly,” Taylor said. “What I’ll say is that we were the ones doing everything in our power to get answers on this. If mistakes were made, there’s human error involved in every investigation. It certainly wasn’t from a lack of taking it seriously or hustle or knowledge. Sometimes things happen.”
Bertolino also said that the Laundries, FBI, or North Port police cannot be blamed for what happened to Brian Laundrie.
“Let’s just take a hypothetical and say Brian did, you know, take his own life,” he said. “If that’s the case, that’s on Brian.”