The expensive search for Brian Laundrie continues as new developments include a proper warrant out for his arrest. While the federal arrest warrant focuses on counts of fraud and not Gabby Petito’s death specifically, interrogators plan to question Laundrie about Petito’s circumstances upon his apprehension.
New information is also surfacing about Brian Laundrie’s belongings at the time of his disappearance. The Laundrie family lawyer continues to make statements on the family’s behalf while the family continues its streak of silence regarding the community and media.
In the days following Gabby Petito’s official missing persons report, a large portion of the population voiced their hope for legal repercussions taken against the Laundrie family. After investigators ruled her manner of death as a homicide, these public opinions ramped up even more. Previous reports tried to outline the likelihood of legal actions taken against the Laundrie family. These reports painted a rather bleak future. Now, O.J. Simpson’s lawyer is speaking up about a legal loophole that may make it even harder to charge Brian Laundrie’s parents. More on that below.
The Florida Statute That May Impact Gabby Petito Case
With the hoards of internet sleuths invested in this case, also comes the presence of “armchair lawyers.” Speculation aside, what are the facts as the law pertains to the Gabby Petito case? Well, let’s take a look at one Florida statute in particular.
As defined in Florida Statute 777.03, a felony offense is said to have been committed when someone assists someone else in evading detection, arrest, trial, or punishment after the fact. That being said, relatives of the offender enjoy special privileges and remain protected from being classified as accessories.
In talking to Fox News, Harvard law professor emeritus Alan Dershowitz said these legal protections span many states. This is because “there are a lot of people who think that parents’ obligation to children comes first.” He goes on to continue:
“For example, a woman or a man has a right not to testify against their spouse. Now generally, that doesn’t apply to mother and child or father and child, but there are some people who think it should.”
What Does Cory Baird Think?
Attorney Cory Baird told WESH-TV: “If [Brian Laundrie’s parents] made misleading statements or lied to officers, obviously that’s a crime in Florida, and they’re not protected from that.” Actually, misleading authorities in a federal case means the potential for federal repercussions.
“Where you’re aware of a crime and you do your best to cover it up, or you don’t report it — that could be a federal crime in and of itself,” Baird continued.
At the end of the day, however, this country made a promise to operate under certain ideals. One of those ideals is “innocent until proven guilty.” For that reason, Dershowitz cautions the public. He says: “We just don’t know what the parents did or didn’t do, what they knew, what they didn’t know. We have to presume innocence.”
As it stands, local authorities continue to partner with the FBI to move the investigation along on the backend. Still, Brian Laundrie remains a key piece of the puzzle of what happened to Gabby Petito. The search for him exhibits no signs of slowing down despite days of inconclusive results.