Josh Taylor, the public information officer for the North Port Police Department, spoke with WINK News about how they actually tried to keep track of Laundrie after Petito’s family reported her missing.
Laundrie returned to his parents’ house on Sept. 1. Petito’s family reported her missing on Saturday, Sept. 11. And then Laundrie’s family reported him missing on Friday, Sept. 17. In the space of time between Saturday and Friday, NPPD believed they knew where Laundrie was the entire time.
The police set up cameras outside the Laundrie house to track Brian and his parents, Chris and Roberta. On Monday, Sept. 13, the NPPD watched Brian drive away in his grey Mustang. On Wednesday, Sept. 15, they thought they saw Gabby Petito’s boyfriend drive it back home. But it turns out the person driving the Mustang back was Roberta Laundrie. Taylor said the police mistook one for the other.
“They’re kind of built similarly,” Taylor said.
So, by Wednesday, the North Port police believed Brian Laundrie was in his house with his parents. Chief Todd Garrison even commented on Thursday, Sept. 16, “All I’m going to say is we know where Brian Laundrie is at.”
But on Friday, Sept. 17, the Laundries reported Brian missing. They originally said they hadn’t seen him since Tuesday, but eventually, they changed their statement to say they last saw him on Monday.
“When the family reported him [missing] on Friday, that was certainly news to us that they had not seen him,” Taylor said. “We thought that we saw Brian initially come back into that home on that Wednesday. But we now know that that wasn’t true.”
North Port Police Realize Their Mistake in the Gabby Petito Case
After Chris and Roberta Laundrie reported their son missing, the NPPD realized their mistake.
“I believe it was his mom who was wearing a baseball cap,” Taylor said.
Taylor and the NPPD didn’t think someone else would return Brian’s car except Brian himself. It raises questions about how much Chris and Roberta knew about their son’s intentions to disappear in the Carlton Reserve. Or about whether he was involved in Gabby Petito’s death.
“They had returned from the park with that Mustang. So who does that? Right?” Taylor said. “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. So the individual getting out with a baseball cap we thought was Brian.”
After spending over a month looking for Gabby Petito’s boyfriend, Taylor now admits that the NPPD made a “costly mistake” when Brian actually disappeared. “No case is perfect,” Taylor said.