The Laundrie family’s attorney provided a more detailed timeline of events leading up to Brian Laundrie’s disappearance, just hours before forensic teams definitively identified the human remains found Wednesday during the hunt for him.
Laundrie’s family attorney, Steve Bertolino, told Mahsa Saeidi of 8 On Your Side that they filed a missing person report the night that Brian went hiking and didn’t return.
Bertolino explained, “I spoke with the FBI that night or the morning after – maybe both – and relayed to them that Brian did not come home.”
From Bertolino’s interview with 8 On Your Side, we discovered the following:
As of When did Brian go Missing?
The 17th of September marked the official date when Brian was reported missing. His parents told authorities that he had left the house on Tuesday, September 14 to go hiking in the Carlton Reserve area.
Bertolino added that the Laundries felt their son had left home on September 13 to go hiking following further discussion with the FBI.
According to Bertolino’s comments on 8 On Your Side, he contacted the FBI after discovering that Brian hadn’t come home on September 13 or 14.
He claimed that he did not contact the FBI the following days to report that Laundrie had not returned. The cops never checked up with him to see if Laundrie returned home, he added.
“There was just no talking,” he concluded. “There was no misunderstanding; there just wasn’t any communication.”
After Brian returned home from their cross-country journey alone on September 11, her family reported her missing and the North Port Police Department held a press conference on September 16 pleading with the public for information on the whereabouts of Brian’s fiancée Gabby Petito. On September 15th, Brian was identified as a person of interest in her disappearance. In the end, Petito’s body was discovered in Wyoming.
A reporter asked Police Chief Todd Garrison on September 16: “do you know where Brian Laundrie is right now?” The answer from Garrison was “yes.”
“The North Port PD apparently thought Brian was home,” Bertolino said Thursday. As for North Port PD, I’ve talked to their reps and they told me that they honestly believed Brian was still at home.
On Friday, September 17th, Bertolino claimed the FBI called him with information that Brian was in Tampa based on a tip. He claims he repeated to the agent that Brian had not returned from the climb, prompting police to the family’s North Port residence. The next day, police filed a missing person complaint in regards to the individual.
Bertolino added, “As it turns out, the FBI was also under the notion that Brian had come home; it was merely the fact that there had been no communication between Monday and Friday from confirmation on either side.”
Brian’s Parents Probably Didn’t Look, Right?
Bertolino claims that on September 13th, when Brian still hadn’t returned home, Brian’s father Chris went searching in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park.
The lawyer claimed that “Chris went out that night and sought for him.” It poured, and the ground was soaked. Chris’s vision was completely impaired. It was nighttime.
Chris and Roberta, according to Bertolino, returned to the park on September 14 to find their Mustang had been issued a “summons” for overnight parking. The pair spent many hours exploring the park, but he said they were unable to venture off the beaten path due to the high water levels.
According to Bertolino, Chris and Roberta Laundrie drove the Mustang back to their house on September 15 after returning to the park. According to the family’s attorney, who spoke to 8 On Your Side, the parents were hopeful that Brian would return.
On the 7th of October, Chris Laundrie returned to the park to assist the authorities in their hunt for Brian. Bertolino stated that they were restricted to the park’s paths due to the high water levels.
“The last time Chris went on that trail, the water was at least waist-deep off the trail,” Bertolino added.
Upon the Discovery of Bones, What Occurred?
After looking for Brian for over a month, on October 20th, investigators discovered Brian’s bones in the Carlton Reserve. The FBI said on Thursday that Brian’s teeth were used to positively identify his remains.
Chris and Roberta Laundrie were in the park with police the morning the bodies were discovered beside Brian’s belongings. The park had just reopened to the public the week prior after being closed for several weeks.
Bertolino explained that now that Myakkahatchee Park was accessible to the general public, Chris and Roberta decided to explore its paths in search of Brian.
Bertolino claims the parents arrived at the park on Wednesday morning at 7 a.m., when they subsequently spoke with officers from the North Port Police Department. Bertolino claimed that authorities closely followed the parents into the park once they arrived.
When we asked Bertolino about the preserve, he said, “As they walked in, they travelled along the trail that had been searched and looked at many times before.” Now Chris had strayed from the trail and was deep in the trees. Chris told me that he and the police were combing the woods in a zigzag fashion while Roberta kept the trail clear. She was following a lead.
Bertolino claims that Chris Laundrie eventually discovered a white dry bag with what seemed to be some of Brian’s things. The lawyer claimed that Chris initially declined to retrieve the bag, but ultimately did so because there were no law enforcement personnel in the area. Bertolino stated that Chris refrained from calling for help because he feared being caught on tape.
Chris walked up to Roberta with the bag in his hand. Bertolino continued, “He verified with Roberta that those were Brian’s items, and then the law enforcement officer emerged from the bushes and displayed a photograph of a backpack to Chris and Roberta. The backpack was discovered by law enforcement officials close to human remains.
Bertolino stated the police officer advised Chris and Roberta to leave the area since it had become an investigative scene once they verified the backpack belonged to Brian.
Have Brian and his Family ever Met with their Lawyer?
Bertolino told 8 On Your Side he had spoken to Brian before he went missing.
I talked to him again on September 12 and that was the last time I heard from him,” he claimed. “That’s all I have to say; I have nothing more to contribute.”