NOTE: This interview aired before Brian Laundrie’s remains were identified on Thursday. You can find the latest on the investigation involving Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie here. Download the WFLA app for breaking news push alerts and sign up for breaking news email alerts.
CHICAGO (NewsNation Now/WFLA) — Before and after Brian Laundrie’s remains were found in the Florida reserve were authorities were searching for him, speculation has swirled about his parents and their potential involvement in his disappearance.
Laundrie’s parents have not been charged with a crime, but that has not stopped social media from weighing in on the role the family may have played in Brian’s disappearance.
Before Laundrie’s remains were identified on Thursday, Mark O’Mara, a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor on Wednesday told News Nation that any criminal charges would be difficult to prove.
“All of the criminal charges are going to be extraordinarily difficult to prove for the government,” O’Mara said. “One, they don’t have Brian’s testimony. If he’s passed, obviously, and (the) Laundries themselves are not going to testify about what they knew or didn’t know. So we would all have to be from outside or extraneous evidence that somehow they can prove by their actions, maybe by phone messages, maybe by some forensic evidence, that there was ongoing contact.” But proving a case based on such evidence would be “very, very difficult.”
Mary Fulginiti, a former federal prosecutor, said searching the Laundrie family home would be her main interest.
“They declared the home a crime scene, which is not totally typical when it comes to executing a search warrant,” Fulginiti said. “And they removed the family, which is typical, and everyone from the home where they conducted the search. What we haven’t seen is a search warrant and what they were looking for … and that could be very revealing.”
Gabby Petito, 22, vanished while on a cross-country road trip with Brian Laundrie in a converted camper van. The trip was well-documented on social media until it abruptly ceased, allegedly somewhere in Wyoming.
Petito was reported missing Sept. 11 by her parents after she did not respond to calls and texts for several days. Petito’s body was found Sept. 19 just outside Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. A Teton County coroner said earlier this month that Petito died by strangulation three to four weeks before her body was found.
Brian Laundrie is a person of interest in Petito’s death.