Brian Laundrie flew to Florida to empty storage unit after Utah fight with Gabby Petito says Laundrie lawyer, Steve Bertolino along with parents now admitting new time line.
In latest developments in the hunt for fugitive Brian Laundrie, the wanted man’s parents have now said Laundrie left to go ‘for a hike’ in Florida swampland a day earlier than his parents originally told police according to a report.
Dad Christopher, 62, and mom Roberta, 55, told detectives he vanished on the evening of Tuesday, September 14 – two weeks after he returned alone from the ill-fated cross-country road trip with girlfriend Gabby Petito, 22.
The Laundries did not report their son missing until the Thursday of that week.
Bertolino told Dailymail.com: ‘The Laundries were basing the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events.
Timeline of Brian Laundrie disappearance changes
‘Upon further communication with the FBI and confirmation of the Mustang being at the Laundrie residence on Wednesday, September 15, we now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday, September 13.’
Police have previously said Laundrie’s silver Ford Mustang convertible was given a police ticket at one of the entrances to the alligator-infested Carlton Reserve near his home in North Port, Florida, when left there on the Tuesday night.
Bertolino did not respond when asked at what time Brian left the house on the Monday.
The dailymail in its report tells of having arrived at the Laundrie home to cover the story of Gabby’s disappearance at 1pm that day. The Mustang was not on the driveway, suggesting Brian had already vanished.
Officers had turned up at the Laundrie house on the night of Saturday, September 11 to speak with Brian. It was just hours after Gabby’s mom Nichole Schmidt reported her missing at around 7pm to her local sheriff’s office near her own home on Long Island, New York.
However the Laundrie parents refused ‘to make Brian available’ at the doorstep, saying everything should be handled through Bertolino.
Dailymail.com has confirmed no officers actually saw Brian that night at the home. North Port police said: ‘He was not seen.’
Was Brian Laundrie home when police arrived?
Spokesman Josh Taylor added: ‘I would preface that by saying I cannot speak on if we saw him after that, for the integrity of the investigation.’
Not immediately clear is why the Laundries did not alert authorities to their son’s disappearance for four days.
Nor is it clear if authorities ever received proof of Laundrie being in the family home on September 11 or entering the Carlton Reserve – where they have focused much of the more than $1 million search based on the information from Laundrie’s parents.
Laundrie’s headstart on authorities has so far proved to be problematic for investigators who are yet to locate the 23-year-old after a more than two week manhunt.
Questions continue to mount about what Laundrie’s parents know about the doomed cross-country trip and their son’s current whereabouts.
When Petito was reported missing on September 11, Christopher and Roberta Laundrie refused to let authorities speak to their son.
Are the Laundrie parents hiding their son’s whereabouts?
They then didn’t tell police he had vanished until three days after they allegedly last saw him on September 14, sparking a nationwide manhunt.
Rumors have also been circulating that both Laundrie and his mom have been using burner phones.
Petito’s dad Joe Petito hit out at the Laundrie parents in a new Dr. Phil interview, which aired Tuesday, calling them ‘cowards’ who ‘don’t know how to stand up for their actions’.
Joe and Petito’s mom Nicole Schmidt said they had tried calling and texting the Laundries multiple times when they grew concerned about not hearing from their daughter in early September – but they never replied.
Laundrie’s sister Cassie has also questioned her parents’ involvement in her brother’s disappearance, urging them to ‘come clean’ about what they know in an interview with ABC’s GMA, which aired Tuesday.
While she insisted she had nothing to do with Laundrie’s disappearance, she admitted she wasn’t so sure about her parents Christopher and Roberta Laundrie who she urged to cooperate with investigators.
‘I don’t know if my parents are involved,’ said Cassie. ‘I think if they are, then they should come clean.’
The significant change in the timeline of Laundrie’s disappearance was revealed the same day the attorney also admitted Laundrie took a round trip to Florida in the days leading up to Petito’s disappearance.
Bertolino has claimed the fugitive flew home to Florida ‘to empty a storage unit’ five days after he and Gabby Petito got into a physical fight in Utah – before then rejoining his fiancee just two days before she made her final phone call to her family.
Why did Brian Laundrie fly to storage unit in Florida?
Attorney Steve Bertolino told Newsday Tuesday that Laundrie, 23, took a commercial flight from Salt Lake City, Utah to Tampa, Florida, on August 17.
Five days later, on August 23, Laundrie then took a return flight ‘to rejoin Gabby’ for the remainder of their trip.
Bertolino said the purpose of the fleeting visit was to pick up some items and close the storage unit because the young couple were thinking of ‘extending the road trip’ which was due to end in Oregon in October.
But the trip was in fact cut short, with Laundrie driving the couple’s white campervan back to his family’s home in North Port, Florida, on September 1 while Petito’s body was discovered in a park in Wyoming over two weeks later on September 19.
Laundrie remains at large with a nationwide manhunt under way for the only person of interest in his fiancee’s homicide.
The additional details of the couple’s whereabouts – and the fact they separated for five days – raises more questions about what happened on the doomed cross-country trip.
Bertolino said he believed the couple shared the costs for Laundrie to make the detour.
‘To my knowledge, Brian and Gabby paid for the flights as they were sharing expenses,’ the attorney told the dailymail.
‘Brian flew home to obtain some items and empty and close the storage unit to save money as they contemplated extending the road trip.’
The revelation reiterates what Petito’s mom Nicole Schmidt told DailyMail.com previously.
According to the account given by Laundrie’s attorney, it was five days after this police callout that Laundrie left his fiancee in Utah and flew to Florida.
It is not clear if Laundrie stayed at his parents’ home in North Port or who he saw during that five-day period.
It is also not clear what Petito did during this timeframe as she stayed back in Utah with the couple’s campervan.
The timing of Laundrie’s return on August 23 could also be significant as it comes just two days before Petito made her final phone call to her mom on August 25, where she told her she was in Grand Teton National Park.
She is thought to have last been seen alive on August 27 at the Merry Piglets Tex-mex restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming, where the manager said she witnessed an ‘incident’ involving the couple.
‘Yes, we can confirm Gabby and Brian were in Merry Piglets … We have already notified the FBI and they are aware. We are letting them do their jobs and we are respecting Gabby’s family and have nothing further to comment,’ the restaurant said in an Instagram post last month.
The search for Brian Laundrie continues as a gripped nation watches on…