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Brian Laundrie’s Parents Are ‘Concerned’ But ‘Hopeful That He Is Found Alive,’ Attorney Says
Brian Laundrie disappeared from his family’s home in North Port, Florida on Sept. 14 just days before authorities announced they had discovered the body of his girlfriend Gabby Petito in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
Brian Laundrie’s parents are “concerned” but “hopeful that he is found alive,” according to their family’s attorney.
Attorney Steve Bertolino told People that Chris and Roberta Laundrie believe their missing 23-year-old son is still in Florida and hope that he is safe, as the days grow since he disappeared last month.
A nationwide manhunt is underway to find Laundrie, who has been named a person of interest in the disappearance of his girlfriend, Gabby Petito.
Petito’s body was found in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Sept. 19, according to the FBI. The slain 22-year-old and Brian had been traveling across the country in a converted camper van to visit the nation’s national parks when she disappeared at the end of August.
Brian returned to his home in Florida, without Petito, on Sept. 1 and refused to cooperate with investigators about his missing girlfriend’s whereabouts before disappearing himself. His parents told investigators that Brian told them he was going hiking in Sarasota County’s 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve on Sept. 14, but never returned home.
They reported him missing three days later.
Betolino told Oxygen.com on Friday that the search for Brian remains “ongoing.”
“Hopefully, they find him soon,” he said.
FBI agents went to the family’s home last week to collect some items from their home to assist in the investigation to find Brian.
“It was a collection of items to assist the canines in the search for Brian,” Bertolino said.
Authorities have launched a national manhunt to find Brian—who is also wanted on an arrest warrant by the FBI for unauthorized use of a debit card.
In addition to law enforcement agencies, Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman has also been pursuing leads in the case in an effort to find Brian.
Chapman’s daughter, Lyssa Chapman, told The New York Post her father is currently working to confirm a tip from Dennis Davis, a man who claims he spoke to Laundrie on a deserted road near the Appalachian Trial on Saturday morning. Davis said the alleged encounter occurred near the border of Tennessee and North Carolina.
“We’re doing everything we can to verify Dennis’ tip, but there isn’t much to go off other than the location. But we’re working that tip for sure,” Lyssa said.
Investigators are also working to piece together Brian’s movements in Florida before he disappeared. After returning home to Florida, records obtained by Fox News showed Brian and his parents went camping about 75 miles away from their home at Fort De Soto Park from Sept. 6-8.
Although there have been suggestions that Brian may have disappeared during the outing, Bertolino has insisted that “they all left the park” together.
Pinellas County Sheriff Sgt. Jessica Mackesy told Oxygen.com Thursday that the sheriff’s office has provided surveillance video from Fort De Soto to the FBI for their investigation.
She said there have “been no confirmed sightings or reports of Brian in Pinellas County” and said the sheriff’s office is not currently searching for him in the area.
The trip has come under increased scrutiny after Bertolino confirmed that Brian’s sister Cassie had also been to the camp site with the family on Sept. 6, seemingly disputing an earlier statement she had made to “Good Morning America.”
Cassie told “Good Morning America” in an interview airing Sept. 17 that she had not spoken to her brother, but it’s not clear what timeframe she had been referencing when she made the comment.
“I haven’t been able to talk to him. I wish I could talk to him,” she said at the time.
In a statement to People, Bertolino said Cassie has always been clear with investigators.
“Law enforcement agencies are well aware of these dates. Any prior communication by Cassie that does not reflect these dates is simply a difference of relating an answer to a question misinterpreted by Cassie or poorly posed by the inquirer,” he said.
Anyone with information about Brian’s whereabouts is urged to contact the FBI at 1-800-CALL-FBI.
"The Murder of Gabby Petito: Truth, Lies and Social Media" will air on Oxygen on Monday, January 24 at 9/8c. It's also available to stream on Peacock now.