Last week, authorities discovered Brian Laundrie’s remains at the Carlton Reserve near his parents’ home in North Port Florida. The month-long manhunt for Laundrie ended, but many still have questions about what happened to his girlfriend Gabby Petito, who died in late August by manual strangulation.
The only remaining answers now lie in a notebook discovered near Laundrie’s remains. And in Laundrie’s parents, Chris and Roberta, who one former FBI agent called “odd” in their behavior.
While Brian Laundrie was missing, his parents spoke very little about the case. They cooperated with police and FBI but mainly spoke through their lawyer, Steven Bertolino. And he cautioned both Brian and the parents to exercise their right to remain silent at several points in the investigation.
Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told CNN last week that the Laundrie family “has conducted themselves in a very odd way that’s generated a lot of suspicion right from the beginning.”
Not only because they’ve remained silent, but also because they’ve contradicted themselves in the statements they did release. Initially, the family told the police that Brian Laundrie disappeared on Sept. 14. Then, a few weeks later, Bertolino corrected the date to Sept. 13. The 23-year-old told his parents he was going hiking at the Carlton Reserve but he never returned home, that night or any other.
“Let the record be clear, the Laundries reported Brian did not come home the night he went out for the hike,” Bertolino told CNN. “I actually reported that to the FBI, personally.”
That same week, the North Port Police Department Chief Todd Garrison reached out to Bertolino directly to set up a phone call with Brian Laundrie and police. But Bertolino didn’t respond to the chief or department.
What Else Was ‘Odd’ About Brian Laundrie’s Parents’ Behavior?
CNN also reported that Chris and Roberta’s involvement in the search for their son aroused suspicion. Brian Laundrie’s father found the first item belonging to his son at the reserve on Oct. 20, after police spent a month searching it.
No other officers were around Chris, so he picked up the item and handed it to investigators, according to Bertolino. Former senior FBI profiler Mary Ellen O’Toole called the action “unusual.”
“The idea of family members participating in a search and then being the ones actually finding the evidence, and then picking up the evidence and taking it to law enforcement is really quite unusual,” she said.
Retired FBI profiler Jim Clemente told CNN that the Laundries will be crucial to uncovering more answers about Brian Laundrie’s death. “The parents are key to determining how he died,” he said. “And whether or not this was by his own hand or accidental.”