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The parents of Brian Laundrie, whose remains were discovered at a Florida nature reserve this week, say he was distraught before he vanished into the wilderness more than a month ago.
“Brian was very upset when he left,” Steven Bertolino, attorney for the Laundrie family, told Oxygen.com on Friday. When asked what he was upset about, the lawyer responded, "I was only told that he was very distressed and upset."
Remains found on Wednesday at Carlton Reserve in North Port, Florida — where Laundrie ventured to before vanishing on Sept. 13 — were positively identified Thursday evening using dental records, the FBI announced.
Bertolino told NBC News on Thursday evening that Laundrie’s parents Chris and Roberta were not aware of his plans to vanish, a disappearance which prompted a national manhunt and numerous alleged sightings.
“Chris conveyed to me several times that he wished he didn’t let him go but he couldn’t stop him,” Bertolino said. "So this has been a painful saga for them since Sept. 13. [...] But Brian was a grown man. He wanted to walk out the door. He was entitled to walk out the door.”
He also was adamant that he was the one instructing the Laundries to not talk to the media or police since mid-September. The parents have been widely criticized for their silence.
Brian, 23, was named a person of interest in the disappearance of his 22-year-old girlfriend, Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito. The couple were in the midst of a cross-country trip when she went missing in late August. He returned to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida without Petito at the beginning of September.
Weeks later, on Sept. 19, her remains were found in Wyoming and an autopsy revealed that the 22-year-old travel blogger had been strangled to death. She had likely been killed three to four weeks prior, according to the coroner's report.
A federal arrest warrant was issued for Laundrie’s arrest last month for the unauthorized use of a debit or credit card following Petito’s disappearance.
Personal items, including a backpack and a notebook, were also found near Brian’s body.
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