Gabby Petito’s family lawyer doubts fiancé Brian Laundrie’s family to help FBI search – WSVN 7News | Miami News, Weather, Sports
(CNN) – An attorney for Gabby Petito’s family on Tuesday expressed skepticism that the parents of her fiancé Brian Laundrie would help the FBI search for him underway.
“The laundries didn’t help us find Gabby. They’re definitely not going to help us find Brian, ”family lawyer Richard Stafford said. “For Brian, we ask that you go to the nearest FBI or law enforcement agency.”
Speaking at a press conference alongside Petito’s parents and in-laws, Stafford said the FBI asked them not to discuss the relationship between the families. He said they were confident the FBI would thoroughly investigate the case and obtain justice for Petito.
Petito’s parents and in-laws also announced the creation of the Gabby Petito Foundation, which they said would help keep his memory alive and help families in similar situations. And they revealed they had matching tattoos Monday night while reading “Let it be” in a script designed by their daughter.
“I wanted to have him with me all the time,” said his mother Nicole Schmidt.
For their part, Laundry parents claimed they did not know his whereabouts two weeks after his last visit, their lawyer said in a statement Monday evening.
“Chris and Roberta Laundrie don’t know where Brian is. They are worried about Brian and are hoping the FBI can locate him,” said attorney Steven Bertolino. “Speculation from the public and the press that the parents have helped Brian to leave the family home or to avoid arrest under a warrant issued after Brian had already been missing for several days is simply not true. “
Attention this week shifted to a campsite about 120 km from the laundries’ home where the family stayed from September 6 to 8, officials said.
Brian’s mother, Roberta Laundrie, was registered at a waterfront site at Fort De Soto Campground on those dates, according to a Pinellas County Campground registration report provided to CNN.
Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino told CNN Brian and his family were at the campsite on 6-7 and the family left the campsite together.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office said it was not currently investigating the campground and added that it was “not aware of any confirmed sightings from Brian.”
The mystery deepens
Petito, 22, and Laundrie, 23, spent their summer traveling in a white van through the American West as she posted their adventures on social media.
Those messages abruptly stopped in late August and Laundrie returned to her parents’ home in North Port, Florida, with the van but without her fiancee on September 1, police said. Petito’s family, unable to contact her, reported her disappearance on September 11.
Petito’s remains have been found in a camping area in Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming, last week near where the couple were last seen, and a coroner ruled their death a homicide.
Meanwhile, Laundrie’s parents told investigators on September 17 that they had last seen him three days earlier when he left the house with a backpack, claiming he was on his way to nearby the Carlton Preserve, a vast swamp stretching over 25,000 acres in southwest Florida, authorities said. A source close to the family told CNN that Laundromat left his parents’ house without his cell phone and wallet and his parents feared he would get hurt.
Local police spent over 10 days unsuccessfully combing the Carlton reservation. The FBI, which took over the case, is conducting a more targeted intelligence-based search, North Port Police said, and agents have visited his parents’ home to obtain personal items that would aid in the DNA match. .
Laundrie was not explicitly linked to Petito’s death. Always a federal warrant against his arrest accuses him of illegally using another person’s debit card and PIN on August 30 and September 1.
The unanswered questions about what happened to Petito have tricked digital sleuths to comb through the couple’s online trail to try and resolve the case and reports have surfaced that tensions may have built up between the couple. The attention paid to the case of Petito has also shed light on the tens of thousands of missing persons cases across the country and raised questions about why some of these cases are receiving such intense interest and others not.
Laundry search in progress
Laundrie returned to the Florida home he shared with his parents on September 1 without Petito, and authorities were waiting for him to provide answers.
Initially he was not wanted on any charges, but Laundromat now faces a federal arrest warrant for his arrest for “use of unauthorized devices” arising from his alleged actions after Petito’s death. The laundromat allegedly used a debit card and PIN for accounts it did not own for charges over $ 1,000 between the dates of August 30 and September 1, according to a federal indictment.
A lawyer for Laundrie’s family stressed in a statement that the warrant did not relate to Petito’s death but related to activities that allegedly took place afterwards.
Two separate awards totaling $ 30,000 were offered to anyone providing law enforcement with the location of the laundry.
FBI agents returned to Laundrie’s home on Sunday, as seen in a video shot by CNN. At least two officers could be seen at the house and one had a bag in his hand.
During the agency’s visit to the family home, “the FBI requested personal items belonging to Brian Laundrie to help them match DNA and Brian’s parents provided the FBI with what they could,” said the laundries lawyer, Steven Bertolino, to several media outlets. .
Audio Dispatch sheds more light on a dispute
As their social media posts portrayed a happy, sunny life, an incident with the police in August revealed significant issues in their relationship.
The first reports of conflict between the two arrived on August 12, when a 911 caller in Moab, Utah, told dispatchers he wanted to report a domestic dispute and described a white pickup truck with a license plate. ‘registration in Florida.
“We walked past and the gentleman was slapping the girl,” the caller said. He went on to say, “Then we stopped. They walked up and down the sidewalk. He started hitting her, jumped in the car and they drove away. “
CNN obtained audio recordings of a dispatch from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office on Monday, which shed light on what Moab police said about “some kind of altercation.”
According to the audio, the dispatcher told the officer that “a man hit a woman” and they got into a white Ford Transit van.
However, another witness, identified just by his first name, told investigators that Petito appeared to hit Laundrie on the arm, then climbed out the driver’s side door as if he had locked her in, according to a Moab police report.
Police located the white van and issued a stop near the entrance to Arches National Park. Petito and Laundrie were in the van.
In his police report, Officer Eric Pratt said Petito slapped Laundrie in the face, “who grabbed her face and pushed her away as she pressed against him and the van.”
Another officer who responded, Daniel Robbins, said Petito had “entered a manic state” when Laundrie tried to “separate from her so that they could both calm their emotions”. The officer reported seeing “minor scratches visible” on Laundrie’s face.
Body camera video of the incident shows Petito telling police, “We just got into a fight this morning – we are going through personal issues.”
According to police, officers suggested the couple separate that evening and no charges were filed.
Moab Deputy Police Chief Braydon Palmer told CNN of the handling of the dispute on August 12: “We are contacting an outside agency to investigate.” Palmer did not specify the agency.
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