'Quite Strange': Brian Laundrie's Parents Helped Find Evidence Less Than 90 Minutes After Search Began


The parents of Brian Laundrie are being eyed with suspicion after they helped find their son’s belongings following a month of unsuccessful searches by law enforcement.

Items belonging to the former boyfriend and person of interest in the murder of Gabby Petito were discovered at the T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park Wednesday, as were human remains, which the FBI reported Thursday afternoon were matched to Laundrie through dental records.

“The FBI is grateful for the tremendous investigative support from our partners: North Port Police Department, Sarasota Police Department, Jackson Police Department, Charlotte County Sheriffs Office, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Teton County Sheriff’s Office, Teton County Search and Rescue, the Florida Wildlife Commission, the National Park Service, and the U.S. Forest Service,” the bureau’s Denver office said in a news release.

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Laundrie reportedly told his parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, that he was going hiking at the Carlton Reserve near their home in North Port on Sept. 14 following Petito’s disappearance, the Associated Press reported.

He never returned, and a task force of local, state and federal officers began a search that yielded nothing.

The search for the man potentially linked to the murder of Petito was cold — until Laundrie’s parents accompanied officers to the park at 7:15 a.m. on Wednesday.

A dry bag, a backpack and human remains belonging to their son were quickly found. The dry bag, oddly enough, was found by Chris Laundrie.

Do you believe that Brian Laundrie's parent found his belongings by chance?

Steven Bertolino, an attorney for the family, told Fox News that the Laundries told law enforcement the night before that they wanted to join the search for their son, so officers met them at the park.

A cadaver dog signaled a hit on remains less than 90 minutes into the search, the Laundries left the park at 8:45 a.m., and the rest is still being pieced together. But the end of the saga certainly has people questioning how the parents of a fugitive and person of interest in Petito’s murder did in just over an hour what an army of officers couldn’t do in a month.

Before the remains were identified as belonging to Laundrie, Bertolino denied speculation that Laundrie’s belongings were planted there by the former fugitive’s parents. The lawyer called assertions that his clients were involved in anything nefarious “hogwash” when speaking to CNN’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday evening over the phone.

Cuomo asked the attorney what he thought of theories that the Laundries planted evidence.

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“In nice terms, it’s hogwash,” he said. “Chris and Roberta first went to the area and as it happened, they stumbled upon these things.”

“The parents thought that the experts, the FBI and all the tracking teams they had, would be able to locate Brian based on the information we provided to specific areas and trails in the park that Brian would like to meet,” the attorney added, noting that reporters had been keeping tabs on their movements.

Bertolino said the area where the human remains were found had been under water until recently.

Fox News reporter Laura Ingle shared a video of the search on Twitter:

Despite Bertolino’s denial that Brian Laundrie’s parents were not involved with their son’s disappearance and death, many people are having difficulty believing the family, Bertolino, and even the FBI.

As odd as the ending to this story might be, one legal expert said Wednesday that the fact that Chris and Roberta were present when the items were found Wednesday actually vindicates them.

“The fact they may have led investigators to their son’s possessions and possibly his remains — that all undercuts the argument that they were aiding and abetting his escape,” former assistant U.S. Attorney Neama Rahmani told The Sun. “That leads me to believe they’ve been cooperative and not the other way around.”

Former NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce told WABC-TV on Wednesday that he found the circumstances surrounding the discovery “quite strange.”

“There’s just too many strange turns that Chris and Roberta Laundrie having been involved in it to not believe that something is amiss here,” Boyce said.

“The day the park reopens, they go into this specific area … they go to this exact spot and they find the backpack and they identify the backpack from what I understand and the notebook in this particular area, so … it’s quite strange.”

“So, they go to this one location, this remote location where it’s a path where people go by … and they’re being told by the FBI agent that ‘Well, all of a sudden we found something, we found the remains,’” he continued.

“It sounds like they got a tip from somebody to be honest with you. … But for them to go to that exact location, it’s very, very strange, in that big park … did they know more, were they holding back?”

Perhaps more answers will become available as the investigation continues, because there is no arguing that the way the search for Laundrie ended was nothing short of bewildering.

Petito was found dead on Sept. 19 near a campsite in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. She is believed to have been strangled to death three weeks to a month before her body was discovered.

With Laundrie now being deceased, it’s not likely investigators will ever have many of their questions answered.

Tragically, neither will Petito’s family.

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.