HomeNewsGabby Petito Case: Police Say Brian Laundrie Was Likely Dead When Mother Was Misidentified as Fugitive

Gabby Petito Case: Police Say Brian Laundrie Was Likely Dead When Mother Was Misidentified as Fugitive

by Matthew Memrick
(Photo by Mark Taylor/Getty Images)

On Thursday, Florida police say they may have confused Brian Laundrie with his mother in video footage and that the man was likely dead by that time.

Earlier this week, North Port, Fla. police said they were confused by video footage and mixed up Laundrie with his mother, despite having cameras trained on the family house. Authorities say they did not scrutinize the video as well as they should have.

Brian Laundrie, Mom Similiar At Night

Yahoo! News said police recorded Laundrie leaving his parents house in a Ford Mustang on Sept. 13. Two days later, police thought Laundrie had returned and entered his parents’ house, but the person was Roberta Laundrie.

Police said mother and son were “built similiarly,” and Roberta Laundrie wore a baseball cap that Sept. 15 night, police spokesperson Josh Taylor told WINK.

North Port police are under scrutiny over the report, and many wonder the case would have been as costly during a different, shorter investigation.

Taylor told NBC News that “this misidentification did not have a big impact on costs and the investigation.”

Ultimately, the spokesperson said the confusion did not change anything and that Laundrie would have been dead already. They also said they needed to recover the man’s body.

The police spokesperson said he wanted the public to know why officials thought Laundrie was at the home. He added that the lack of cooperation by Laundrie’s parents added to the investigation’s confusion.

Asked if Laundrie’s mother wore a hat to disguise herself to look like her son, Taylor did not have any comment to add.

Police Learned Of Error On Sept. 17

North Port police put two and two together when the family reported Brian Laundrie missing on Sept. 17.

Authorities were searching for both Gabby Petito, 22, and Brian Laundrie, 23, at the same time. There was a nationwide search for Petito, while Laundrie was limited to the vast area known as the Carlton Reserve.

Petito’s body was found on Sept. 19 at the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. The coroner determined the young woman had been dead for at least three weeks by “manual strangulation.”

During the search for Petito, officials named Laundrie a person of interest in her disappearance. They, however, sought him for a charge of bank fraud for unauthorized use of Petito’s debit card.

Laundrie’s Body Found Last Week

After reviewing dental records, FBI officials identified Laundrie’s remains with the help of the man’s parents on Oct. 21. The parents went Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, a part of the Carlton Reserve.

Officials recovered a backpack and notebook at the scene. An anthropologist is studying those items.

Currently, there is no cause of death determined in Laundrie’s case.