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Brian Laundrie's Father Joins Search To Find Fugitive Son, Lawyer Says
Chris Laundrie joined authorities' efforts to find Brian Laundrie, a person of interest in the disappearance of his girlfriend Gabby Petito.
Brian Laundrie’s father has joined law enforcement in the massive manhunt to find his son, according to his family's lawyer.
Long Island attorney Steven Bertolino told Oxygen.com that Chris Laundrie has assisted the search for Brian, 23. It's unclear if Roberta, Brian's mother, has participated as well.
"Chris Laundrie is assisting [l]aw [e]nforcement today in the search for Brian," Bertolino said in a statement Thursday. "Chris was asked to point out any favorite trails or spots that Brian may have used in the preserve. Although Chris and Roberta Laundrie provided this information verbally [three] weeks ago it is now thought that on-site assistance may be better. The preserve has been closed to the public and the Laundries as well but the parents have been cooperating since the search began."
Later Thursday afternoon, Bertolino followed up, stating that Chris “accompanied members of law enforcement into the [Carlton] Reserve to show them the trails and places Chris and Brian have hiked and which Brian was known to frequent.”
He said that while there were “no discoveries,” the effort “was helpful to all.”
“It seems the water in the Preserve is receding and certain areas are more accessible to search,” Bertolino. “The entire Laundrie family is grateful for the hard work of the dedicated members of law enforcement that have been searching the Preserve for Brian over the last few weeks. Hopefully Brian will be located soon.”
Brian is considered a person of interest in the high profile disappearance of his girlfriend Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito. The young couple were taking a trip across the country when she vanished. Laundrie returned to his parents’ Florida home, where both he and Petito had been living, without her on Sept. 1. The 22-year-old travel blogger was reported missing by her family on Long Island on Sept. 11.
Petito’s remains were found in Wyoming on Sept. 19. A federal arrest warrant has since been issued for Laundrie's arrest for the unauthorized use of a debit or credit card following Petito’s murder, though it doesn't specify whose card he allegedly used. Richard Stafford, an attorney and spokesperson for Petito’s parents and stepparents, alleged during a Tuesday episode of the “Dr. Phil” show that Brian “stole her credit card, he used her credit card to get home and then ran from the police.”
Laundrie remains a fugitive. His parents, who referred law enforcement to their lawyer before Petito’s remains were found, say their son went missing after going for a hike at Florida’s Sarasota County’s Carlton Reserve in mid-September. They initially told police he left on Sept. 14, but this week they noted that he actually vanished one day prior, on Sept. 13, according to Bertolino. Multiple attempts to find him at that swampy reserve have not been successful.
“Since the preserve has been closed to the public, Chris has not been able to look for Brian in the only place Chris and Roberta believe Brian may be,” Bertolino said in a statement to The New York Post.
There have also been unconfirmed sightings of Brian on The Appalachian Trail in North Carolina.
Bertolino noted that he feels it’s useless for the parents to issue any sort of plea for their fugitive son to turn himself in.
“The parents don’t believe he is watching the news in any way, shape or form,” Bertolino told the Post. “They believe he’s in the preserve or some other type of wilderness area if he has left the preserve. So putting out a public plea and getting scrutiny for that is not necessarily in their best interest.”
He claims that the couple spent between four to five hours searching for their son on Sept. 13.
"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.