Brian Laundrie’s Parents Waited Longer To Report Him Missing Than Previously Thought

An attorney for Brian Laundrie, who remains missing as authorities investigate the slaying of his fiancée, Gabby Petito, revealed Tuesday that his parents last saw him longer ago than they previously reported. 

When Laundrie’s parents reported their 23-year-old son missing on Sept. 17, they said the last time they’d seen him was when he left their Florida home to hike in a nearby nature reserve on Sept. 14. He drove the family’s Ford Mustang there, his parents said, and they picked the car up and drove it home when he did not return.

But family attorney Steven Bertolino said in a text to reporters that Laundrie left for his hike in the 25,000-acre nature preserve a day earlier, on Sept. 13, and that they had simply misremembered the timeline when they spoke to law enforcement. 

“The Laundries were basing the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events,” Bertolino said. “Upon further communication with the FBI and confirmation of the Mustang being at the Laundrie residence on Wednesday September 15, we now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday September 13.”

That means his parents waited four days, not three, to report him missing, though it remains unclear when they expected him home.

The uncertainty about when they last saw their son is also sure to raise questions given the significance of that time period. When Laundrie left for that hike, he was already under scrutiny: Petito’s parents had just reported their 22-year-old daughter missing, her disappearance was starting to gain traction in the news and on social media, and public outrage was was shifting toward Laundrie, whom police said was refusing to cooperate.

Just two weeks earlier, he had returned home alone from an extended road trip with Petito that they were documenting on social media, and neither he nor anyone in his family have commented on why he wasn’t with her. On Sept. 19, authorities found Petito’s remains in Wyoming, near where witnesses had spotted the camper van she’d been traveling in with Laundrie. Her death was quickly ruled a homicide. 

This is not the first time Laundrie’s lawyer has corrected information about his behavior and interactions in the days after Petito was reported missing. Last week, Bertolino said his sister, Cassie Laundrie, had actually seen him twice in that time period. That surprised many, as his sister previously said in a “Good Morning America” interview before he was reported missing: “I haven’t been able to talk to him. I wish I could talk to him,” when asked to state “the oddest thing to you about all this.” 

Laundrie has not been named a suspect in Petito’s death, but he’s been indicted for the unauthorized use of a debit card to withdraw more than $1,000 during the period in which Petito was missing. The Petito family’s lawyer said Tuesday that he’d used their daughter’s card. 

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