Brian Laundrie captured in selfie by Florida couple, Marci and Kenny Newsom during camping trip at Fort De Soto Park, days before Gabby Petito was reported missing.
‘Apparently, they were at the campground when we were there, and they were right next to us,’ Marci Newsom, of Fort Myers, told WBBH.
Newsom said she and her husband, Kenny, camped next to now-missing Brian Laundrie, 23, and his parents after checking into Fort De Soto Park on Labor Day.
Pinellas County documents cited by WBBH show Laundrie’s mother, Roberta, checked out two days later — and three days before Petito, 22, was reported missing by her family on Sept 11.
Petito’s remains were found in a remote section of a Wyoming national forest on Sept. 19 — two days after Laundrie’s parents also reported him missing.
‘If somebody I knew was missing, I wouldn’t be going camping.’
But a photo taken at Fort De Soto Park during the couple’s stay over the Labor Day holiday also may have shown Laundrie, who has not been charged in Petito’s death but has been named a person of interest.
‘In the background, there’s a guy walking across the field,’ Marci Newsom said.
It’s unclear if the photo showed Laundrie, but Newsom said the three campers she saw ‘kept to themselves’ during their stay.
‘They were there, and then they weren’t,’ Marci Newsom said.
However, Pinellas County records obtained by WBBH show that Roberta Laundrie checked out by herself on Sept. 8 as Petito’s parents were trying to reach the family.
‘It’s very strange,’ Kenny Newsom told the media outlet. ‘If somebody I knew was missing, I wouldn’t be going camping.’
Speculation grows in possible involvement by wanted man’s parents
Bertolino’s statement also contradicted recent claims by reality TV star Duane ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’ Chapman that Brian went on the run after his parents left Fort De Soto Park without him.
Chapman said the three were there on Sept. 1-3 and then again on Sept. 6-8, and the parents apparently left the campground by themselves, leaving Brian behind. Chris and Roberta Laundrie have denied knowledge of or involvement in their son’s disappearance.
‘Chris and Roberta Laundrie do not know where Brian is,’ Bertolino said in a statement Monday. ‘They are concerned about Brian and hope the FBI can locate him.’
‘Speculation that the couple assisted Brian in leaving their family’s home or to avoid arrest on a warrant is ‘just wrong,’ Bertolino said.
Brian Laundrie vanished from the family’s North Port home on Sept. 14, his parents said when they reported their son missing three days later. He was named by North Port police as a person of interest on Sept. 15.
The young couple was on a cross-country trip when Petito disappeared and Laundrie later returned home without her on Sept. 1.
Federal officials in Wyoming charged Laundrie last week with unauthorized use of a debit card that didn’t belong to him from Aug. 30 through Sept. 1. Authorities did not specify if the debit card belonged to Petito, who was last seen alive at a Wyoming restaurant on Aug. 27. It is thought that the deceased woman, whose death was ruled a homicide was last seen alive by her missing boyfriend — as a massive manhunt for his whereabouts continues….