NORTH PORT, Fla. (ABC4) – The parents of Brian Laundrie, the one person of interest in the Gabby Petito case, are hoping to help law enforcement find their son. The search for Laundrie has been ongoing for multiple weeks since he disappeared days before Petito was found dead in Wyoming.
Steven Bertolino, the Laundrie family attorney, tells ABC4 affiliate WFLA that Chris Laundrie, Brian’s father, had been asked to assist law enforcement in their search of the Carlton Reserve on Wednesday. North Port Police and the FBI have been searching the 25,000-acre nature area since mid-September after the Laundrie parents reported Brian missing.
Bertolino tells WFLA, “North Port police had to postpone Chris’ involvement.”
Yet the public information officer for North Port tells WFLA the police department would not make that call. Because the FBI is the lead agency on the case, North Port Police “would not be making these decisions and actions.”
Bertolino says Chris and his wife, Roberta, “are hopeful there will be another opportunity to assist.”
Thursday morning, NewsNation’s Brian Entin reports Chris Laundrie left his North Port home, alone. According to Entin, Bertolino says Chris is heading to the reserve to help search for his son.
Activity ramped up in the Carlton Reserve on Wednesday. Several unmarked law enforcement SUVs were seen heading into the nature reserve around 8:30 a.m. MT and a large drone was spotted being used around 10 a.m. MT.
Brian Laundrie was reported missing on Friday, Sept. 17 by his parents. Initially, the Laundries told police they had not seen Brian since Tuesday, Sept. 14, when he left home to go hiking in the Carlton Reserve area. Earlier this week, as WFLA reports, Bertolino confirmed the Laundries believe their son left home on Monday, Sept. 13.
North Port police confirmed to WFLA on Wednesday that an abandoned vehicle notice was placed on the Laundries’ Mustang on Tuesday, Sept. 14. A heavily redacted incident report, seen here, shows the notice was placed on the car at 2:42 p.m. that day. According to the Laundrie family’s attorney, the Mustang was back outside the family’s home on Sept. 15.
Meanwhile, multiple reported sightings of Laundrie have surfaced, including a hiker that called 911 over the weekend to say he believed he has spoken with Brian near the Appalachian Trail at the border of North Carolina and Tennessee. More details about the 911 call placed by the hiker can be seen here.
In mid-September, Petito was found dead in Wyoming. Laundrie has not been seen since just two days before Petito was found dead. A federal warrant has been issued for Laundrie, accusing him of “use of unauthorized access devices” following Petito’s death.