According to recent reports, police unintentionally let Brian Laundrie slip through their fingers shortly before his disappearance.
A spokesperson for the North Port Police Department said as much on Monday, admitting that Flordia cops accidentally mistook the fugitive’s mother for Laundrie and — instead of continuing surveillance on Laundrie — followed her instead, helping facilitate Laundrie’s escape.
“They are built kind of similarly,” North Port Police Department spokesperson Josh Taylor told WINK-TV.
Taylor told WINK-TV that his department “began tracking Brian” shortly after the death of his girlfriend, Gabby Petito.
Police watched Laundrie leave his parents’ home in his Mustang on Monday, Sept. 13 and then witnessed what they thought to be his return in the very same Mustang on Wednesday, Sept. 15.
As it turns out, the individual that came home in Laundrie’s Mustang was not Laundrie himself, but rather his mother, Roberta.
Nevertheless, on Thursday of that week, North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison seemed convinced he knew of Laundrie’s location, saying “All I’m going to say is we know where Brian Laundrie is at.”
When Laundrie’s parents reported their son missing that Friday, however, police realized they had made a mistake.
“They had returned from the park with that Mustang. So who does that? Right? Like, if you think your son’s missing since Tuesday, you’re going to bring his car back to the home. So it didn’t make sense that anyone would do that if he wasn’t there,” Taylor said, according to WINK-TV.
“So the individual getting out with a baseball cap we thought was Brian.”
The story of Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito has been dominating headlines for weeks following the disappearance and subsequent discovery of Petito’s body. On Oct. 20, the remains, backpack and notebook believed to belong to Laundrie were also discovered.
The FBI later confirmed that a comparison of dental records had confirmed remains were indeed Laundrie’s.
This discovery came at the end of a weeks-long manhunt for Laundrie involving federal, state and local officials.
The manhunt began shortly after Laundrie’s disappearance on Sept. 14, two weeks after the 23-year-old returned home alone from a cross-country road trip both he and Petito had initially set out on.
Given that Laundrie returned home to his parents without Petito, speculation subsequently ran rampant over his possible involvement in her death.
Despite his demise, Laundrie remains a person of interest in the case of Gabby Petito’s death.
It is quite possible Laundrie would still be alive to answer questions if not for his escape from the police.
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