The FBI’s Denver office confirmed that the remains found in a Florida nature reserve alongside a backpack are those of Brian Laundrie, who went missing last month.
The attention now shifts to his parents’ actions following the homicide of Laundrie’s girlfriend, Gabby Petito, and Laundrie’s subsequent disappearance.
Chris and Roberta Laundrie joined the search party Wednesday morning and found a bag belonging to Brian, a situation that their attorney called “happenstance.”
“As they went further in, Chris ventured off the trail into the woods. He was zigzagging in different areas, law enforcement was doing the same thing. And Roberta Laundrie was walking down the trail,” said Steven Bertolino, the Laundries’ lawyer. “At some point, Chris locates what’s called a dry bag. The dry bag is a white bag, laying in the woods, say 20 feet or so off the trail.”
Bertolino explained that law enforcement wasn’t around when Chris found it, but he didn’t want to leave the bag there near a news reporter, so he picked it up.
The Laundries reported Brian missing on Sep. 17, initially telling law enforcement he’d left their home on Sep. 14 for the Carlton Reserve. A few weeks later, Bertolino said he’d actually left home on Sep. 13.
Former federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani said the Laundries potentially committed crimes in this situation.
“Their initial actions weren’t consistent with folks who were concerned about the well-being of their future daughter-in-law,” Rahmani said. “They didn’t contact law enforcement right away, they lawyered up, they potentially gave their son a week-long head start.”