Brian Laundrie’s dad has now said he went searching for his son in the Florida nature reserve one day earlier than they first claimed he had gone on the run, in what marks the latest change in story from the fugitive’s family.
The Laundrie family’s attorney Steve Bertolino told CNN Christopher Laundrie went to the Carlton Reserve near the family home in North Port to look for the 23-year-old on the night of September 13 when he failed to return from a hike at the park.
Christopher’s search was allegedly unsuccessful and so he returned with Laundrie’s mom Roberta the following day, he said.
Then, Laundrie’s parents allegedly noticed their son’s Ford Mustang with an abandoned vehicle notice on it, he said, but left it there. They then returned again the next day – September 15 – and took the vehicle back to their home.
North Port police confirmed Wednesday the notice was placed on the car on September 14 when it was found at 6968 Reisterstown Road, North Port, in the Myakkahatchee Environmental Park in Florida. The park is an entrance to the Carlton Reserve.
Despite being concerned enough to make multiple trips to look for their son, Laundrie’s parents appeared to forget how long it had been since they last saw him when they finally admitted to police several days later that he had gone on the lam.
Laundrie’s parents told authorities on September 17 that they hadn’t seen him for the last three days, claiming they last saw him carrying a backpack and heading to the Carlton Nature Reserve near their home in North Port for a hike on September 14.
On Friday, Christopher refused to make any statement when he briefly broke cover from his home to collect his mail and retrieve a trash can before ducking back inside where they have been holing up over the last few weeks.
The day earlier, he was seen in photos obtained exclusively by DailyMail.com smiling and chatting away to FBI agents as he joined the three-week-long manhunt for his fugitive son for the first time.
Christopher Laundrie emerges from his home in North Port Friday morning to take the trash out and collect his mail
The fugitive’s dad pulls a trash can out for garbage collection Friday as new holes in his story emerged this week
Christopher Laundrie (pictured) has now claimed he went searching for his son in the Florida nature reserve one day earlier than the parents first claimed he went on the run
Christopher has now said he went searching for his son in the Florida nature reserve one day earlier than they first claimed he had gone on the run
The Laundrie family’s attorney said Christopher went to the Carlton Reserve near the family home in North Port to look for the 23-year-old on the night of September 13
Christopher Laundrie is seen laughing and joking as he chats with an officer when he joined the search for his son Thursday
Christopher didn’t seem too concerned about his son being missing – or his son’s fiancee’s homicide – as he appeared to be having a jolly time while joining the manhunt in the Carlton Reserve, Florida, Thursday
The father of Brian Laundrie was paired with an officer who looked somewhat like his fugitive son for Thursday’s search
The latest developments in the case are:
- The Laundrie family’s attorney said there are ‘no’ plans for Christopher or Roberta to join Friday’s search
- North Port Police poured cold water on report a ‘fresh campsite’ was found in the Carlton Reserve Wednesday
- The conditions in the swampland are said to be improving making the hunt easier to navigate
- FBI is also investigating 11 alleged sightings of Laundrie along the Appalachian Trail near the North Carolina-Tennessee border
- Police said they had Laundrie under surveillance in the days before he was reported missing
- Investigators confirmed neither Petito or Laundrie’s phones were found in the couple’s campervan
- It emerged that Laundrie’s Ford Mustang was found just 16 miles from the Carlton Reserve last month
- Petito’s family said the 22-year-old’s body is still in Wyoming and their ‘top priority’ is to bring her home
- They revealed her body was found ‘a five minute walk’ from where the van had been seen parked
- The family issued another plea to Laundrie to ‘turn himself in’ in an interview with Dr. Phil
In three-day period between September 14 and 17 when the Laundries claimed their son had vanished, Christopher and Roberta kept mum about his disappearance.
The family had lawyered up and refused to allow investigators to speak to him ever since the cops came knocking on September 11 – the day his fiancee Gabby Petito was reported missing.
Now, the fugitive’s parents have claimed they actually ‘believe’ Laundrie set off from their home on September 13, meaning their fugitive son had a four-day headstart before they finally reported him missing to authorities.
The discrepancy in the timeline first surfaced Tuesday when Bertolino admitted the parents may have gotten muddled over the date when they last saw their son.
Bertolino said they now ‘believe’ he went on the run one day earlier than they first claimed.
The new details about the extent to which the parents searched for him indicates they were fully aware – and even concerned – that he had vanished on September 13.
Bertolino brushed off the inconsistency putting it down to ‘recollection of certain events’ – at a time when police were making repeated efforts to speak with him and his fiancee was missing.
‘The Laundries were basing the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events,’ he said.
‘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.’
Bertolino also insisted Laundrie’s parents believe he is still in the Carlton Reserve, where Christopher joined FBI agents in the search for his son Thursday.
‘No, they don’t believe he’s in another area. They believe he is in the preserve,’ he said.
It is not clear why the Laundries did not alert authorities to their son’s disappearance for four days.
Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito (pictured together) set off on their doomed cross-country campervan trip on July 2
The parents of Laundrie have been holing up in their home while the manhunt for their son has rumbled on for three weeks
Christopher drops his mail on the ground outside his home at one point after briefly breaking cover from his home
Laundrie’s dad refused to make any comment as he emerged from his home briefly Friday to bring his trash can in and get their mail
Laundrie’s parents appeared to forget how long it had been since they last saw their son when they finally admitted to police several days later that he had gone on the lam
On Friday, Christopher refused to make any statement when he briefly broke cover from his home to collect his mail and retrieve a trash can before ducking back inside where they have been holing up over the last few weeks
Timeline of Gabby Petito case
- July 1: Gabby Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie left Blue Point, New York for a cross-country road trip
- August 12: Police in Moab, Utah respond to a domestic incident involving the couple
- Aug. 17: Laundrie allegedly flies back to Florida to ‘clear out a storage unit’
- Aug. 21: Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, has his last FaceTime video call with his daughter who was in Salt Lake City, Utah
- Aug. 23: Laundrie flies back to Utah to ‘rejoin Gabby’ on their trip
- Aug. 24: Petito is last seen at a hotel in Salt Lake City with Laundrie
- Aug. 25: Petito makes final call to her mother, Nicole Schmidt, saying she was in Grand Teton National Park
- Aug. 25 or 26: The couple chats with the owner of a shop called ‘Rustic Row’ in Victor, Utah for about 20 minutes
- Aug. 27: Video of Petito’s van was taken by blogger Jenn Bethune, of Red White & Bethune, around 6.30 pm at the Spread Creek Campground; Witnesses say they saw a ‘commotion’ with the couple at Merry Piglets Tex-mex restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming – if accurate, this appears to be the last known sighting of Petito
- Aug. 29: The day that Wisconsin TikToker Miranda Baker claimed that she and her boyfriend were approached by Laundrie at Grand Teton National Park and asked them for a ride at 5.30pm; Schmidt says she is not entertaining this claim and believes it possibly factual
- Aug. 30: Schmidt receives the last text from Petito: ‘No service in Yosemite’
- Sept. 1: Laundrie returns to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida in a van without Petito
- Sept. 6-7: Laundrie and his parents visit Fort De Soto campsite in Florida
- Sept. 11: Schmidt reports Petito missing to authorities in New York; Petito and Laundrie’s van was impounded by police in Florida that same day
- Sept. 12: Grand Teton National Park rangers search for Petito
- Sept. 13: Laundrie’s lawyer says on October 5 that his parents now ‘believe’ this was the day they last saw him heading for a hike
- Sept. 14: Laundrie issues a statement about Petito’s disappearance through his lawyer; Laundrie’s parents claim on September 17 that Laundrie left his parents’ home for a hike and they hadn’t seen from him since
- Sept. 15: Laundrie is officially named a person of interest in Petito’s case
- Sept. 17: Laundrie family attorney confirms his whereabouts are unknown
- Sept. 18: North Port police and the FBI start searching the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County for missing Brian Laundrie
- Sept. 19: Bethune realizes she has video of Petito’s van around 12am and submits the FBI with the footage 10 minutes later; Officials announce a body was found near Grand Teton National Park that matched Petito’s description in the afternoon
- Sept. 21: Coroner confirms remains found in Grand Tetons belong to Petito. Her death is ruled a homicide but her cause of death is still under invesetigation
- Sept. 20 – 22: FBI and North Port police continue search for Laundrie in Carton Reserve
- Sept. 22: Neighbors say they saw the Laudrie family pack up their detached camper on the day Gabby was reported missing. DailyMail.com photos show the camper was back in the driveway two days later, on September 13
- Sept. 23: FBI issues an arrest warrant for Laundrie for ‘use of unauthorized access device’ for fraudulently using a Capitol One Bank debit card that was not his between August 30 and September 1 to spend $1,000; A probe is launched into the police handling of the Utah police incident on Aug. 12; Laundrie’s parents visit their attorney in Orlando
- Sept. 25: Dog the Bounty Hunter joins the search for Laundrie
- Sept. 26: A funeral is held for Petito in Holbrook, New York, and her family launch a charity to help parents find missing children
- Sept. 27: Manhunt for Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve is scaled back after 10 day search doesn’t find him. Dog the Bounty Hunter says Laundrie and his parents stayed at Fort De Soto Park from September 1-3 and September 6-8 – and that on the latter visit only the parents left
- Sept. 28: Laundrie’s mom is accused of using a burner phone to contact her son Sept. 29: Documents reveal Laundrie’s mom canceled a reservation for the Fort De Soto Park campsite for two from September 1 to 3 and booked for three from September 6 to 8; FBI seizes surveillance footage from site; FBI investigates lead Laundrie bought a burner phone on September 14; Dog the Bounty Hunter searches the area near Fort De Soto finding a recently drunk can of Monster Energy at a makeshift campsite deep in the woods
- Sept. 30: Bodycam footage from a second officer at the August 12 incident is released showing a distressed Petito admitting Laundrie hit her; FBI agents collect more evidence from the Laundrie home
- Oct. 1: It emerges Laundrie’s sister had contact with him after she said she did
- Oct. 2: A hiker along the Appalachian Trail claims to have seen Laundrie near the border of Tennessee and North Carolina
- Oct. 3: Investigators searched the area on the Appalachian trail for any signs that Laundrie had been there
- Oct. 4: Laundrie’s sister told protestors outside her home that her family has been ignoring her after they rebuked her story and that she does not know where her brother is
- Oct 5: Laundrie’s sister appeared on Good Morning America to say she would turn her brother in if she knew where he is; The Laundrie attorney says his parents now ‘believe’ he went on the run one day earlier than they first claimed (September 13 not 14) meaning he had a four-day headstart before they reported him missing to authorities; The attorney also says Laundrie flew from Utah to Florida on Aug. 17 without Petito to clear out a storage unit then returned on Aug. 23; A hiker reports a sighting of a person he believed to be Laundrie along the Appalachian Trail near the Tennessee border
- Oct 6: Petito’s parents and step-parents appear together on Dr. Phil to discuss their daughter’s death. Her family paints a vivid picture of the scene where her body was found and encourages Laundrie to turn himself in
- Oct. 7: Laundrie’s father Christopher joins FBI agents on the search for his son at the Carlton Reserve; Investigators find a ‘fresh campsite’ in the nature reserve
Nor is not clear if investigators have proof of his presence at the Laundrie family home at all from when Petito was reported missing on September 11 to when his family revealed he was on the run.
Investigators have confirmed they never spoke to or saw Laundrie on September 11 as his family lawyered up and denied police entry to their home to speak with him.
Instead, the timeline of his disappearance appears to largely rest on accounts given by Christopher and Roberta – accounts that have changed over time.
Questions continue to mount about what Laundrie’s parents know about the doomed cross-country trip and their son’s current whereabouts.
Petito’s parents 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.’
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 three-week-long manhunt.
Christopher was asked to join the search of the snake-and-alligator infested Carlton Reserve Thursday after the inconsistencies came to light in his and his wife Roberta’s version of events.
The 62-year-old appeared to not have a care in the world as he was spotted laughing and chatting away to an FBI agent who bizarrely bore some likeness to his fugitive son in exclusive DailyMail.com photos.
He was asked to point out any favorite trails or spots his son frequented in the reserve, spending several hours in the park with around five officers while a police helicopter circled overhead.
Thursday’s search served up ‘no discoveries’ while a report that a ‘fresh campsite’ had been found Wednesday was also denied by investigators.
The Laundrie family attorney said there were no plans for Christopher or his wife Roberta to join the FBI Friday but said conditions in the swampland were improving, raising hopes the search could be smoother.
‘It seems the water in the preserve is receding and certain areas are more accessible to search,’ said Bertolino.
‘The entire Laundrie family is grateful for the hard work of the dedicated members of law enforcement that have been searching the preserve for Brian over the last few weeks.
‘Hopefully, Brian will be located soon.’
He insisted Laundrie’s parents believe ‘that is exactly where he is located.’
A source close to the Laundrie family told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Wednesday ‘traces’ of a ‘fresh campsite’ had been found in the reserve.
But North Port Police spokesperson Josh Taylor poured cold water on this claim Friday confirming ‘no campsite’ was found.
‘Is it possible that they thought that there might be a campsite out there or something they may have seen from the air but when they go on the ground that’s not what it turned out to be?’ said Taylor.
‘Sure, I think that’s a possibility. Bottom line, is that investigators are telling me that no campsite was found out there.’
North Port Police in Florida revealed Thursday that the sole person of interest in Petito’s homicide had been placed under surveillance in the days before he went on the run.
Police spokesperson Josh Taylor told CNN Laundrie was being closely watched by authorities to the best of their abilities at a time when Petito was still classed as missing and not dead and when a warrant had not yet been issued for Laundrie’s arrest.
Taylor provided no further details about the extent of this surveillance or how Laundrie was then able to slip through the net.
Police also confirmed they have not recovered the phones Petito or Laundrie had with them on the doomed cross-country trip.
Neither phone was found in the couple’s white campervan when it was seized by authorities.
Last week, it emerged the FBI was investigating a line of inquiry that Laundrie had bought a burner from an AT&T store in North Port around September 14.
Brian is said to have visited the store to purchase the phone accompanied by an older woman and federal agents seized surveillance footage from the store.
There has also been speculation that both Laundrie and his mom were in possession of burner phones.
The Laundrie family attorney Steve Bertolino said Laundrie bought a new phone in the days after he returned home to Florida without his fiancee.
He then left that phone when he went on lam and the FBI has taken it into their possession, he said.
The development comes as Petito’s family revealed her body is still in Wyoming – more than two weeks after she was found back on September 19.
Richard Stafford, the attorney representing the Petito family, told Fox News: ‘Gabby’s body is still in Wyoming and bringing her home is the family’s top priority.
‘The family is also working hard to help other families in their situation. That is why they are creating the Gabby Petito Foundation.’
Petito’s family revealed this week that the 22-year-old’s body was found in a fairly isolated area, just ‘a five minute walk’ from where the couple’s van had been seen parked.
In an emotional interview with Dr Phil, on Wednesday, Petito’s stepfather Jim said: ‘Her body was found — I guess it would be in front of a tent, if that’s what was there — or just in front of the fire ring… there was definitely a fire ring there.’
‘It wasn’t far from the van. It was a five minute walk,’ Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt echoed.
Christopher and about five FBI officers spent hours searching the vast 24,565 acres located in Venice. He was pictured sweating and taking breaks to hydrate throughout the day
The Laundrie family’s attorney said that Christopher will continue to cooperate with law enforcement in the hunt for his son
Laundrie is seen returning to his vehicle after the unsuccessful search – the same vehicle witnesses spotted the Laundries using during a camping trip days before Petito was reported missing
The 62-year-old was out in the Carlton Reserve nature park for several hours with FBI agents in the sweltering Florida heat
The Laundries changed their story this week about when they last saw their son, revealing he actually had another day’s head-start on authorities
An attorney for Christopher and Roberta said they ‘believe’ he actually went missing on September 13 not 14. Days after the disclosure, Christopher joined Thursday’s search
Jim, who visited the location on the outskirts of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming where Petito’s body was found, painted a vivid picture of the isolated area.
‘You would have to want to go out over into that area,’ he said.
Jim said his stepdaughter’s remains were found in an area of dispersed campgrounds on the borderline of Bridger-Teton National Forest, about 40 feet away from where Grand Teton National Park begins.
He explained in order to get to that area, campers would have to cross over the creek bed that separated the campgrounds from the area where the van had been parked.
‘So you have to cross over this creek bed, this rock area, and go through these tributaries and once you get on the other side it’s just some trees sparsely placed throughout and a lot sage brush, a lot of low brush,’ he shared.
‘It was in an area where there was a few trees and there was the remnants of a fire ring there… There was a clearing where I would assume – knowing I have a similar tent, where I would place my tent – and that opening would face out overlooking the mountain range.’
Christopher Laundrie, father of the missing Brian Laundrie, was spotted leaving his house on Thursday for the first time this week as he joined the hunt for this son
Christopher has agreed to finally aid in the search for his son after police spotted a fresh campsite in the Carlton Reserves, where Brian is suspected to be hiding at
Christopher’s move to help law enforcement comes after the Laundries had previously distanced themselves from the search
He arrived later in the morning at the Mykkahatchee Creek Environmental Park as he guided law enforcement deeper into the Carlton Reserve where he and police believe his son is located
Christopher Laundrie is seen at the nature reserve Thursday after leaving his home around 10am and joining the search
Christopher was pictured wearing a sweat-soaked grey shirt, cargo pants and a green baseball cap while holding a water bottle
It was also revealed that Laundrie’s abandoned Ford Mustang was found just 16 miles from the Carlton Reserve last month
The search team on Thursday spent hours combing through the swampy area but made ‘no discoveries’
Jim left a stone cross and flowers in the exact location where she was found.
Petito, 22, and Laundrie, 23, set off on July 2 on the adventure of a lifetime traveling across America in their white campervan and chronicling their adventures on YouTube.
On September 1, Laundrie arrived back at his family’s home in North Port without his fiancée but driving their van.
Petito was reported missing on September 11 by her mom after not hearing from her daughter for multiple days and coming up against a wall of silence from Laundrie and his parents.
The Laundrie family lawyered up and refused to let cops speak to him about his fiancee’s whereabouts.
His parents then reported him as missing on September 17.
Petito’s body was discovered at a campsite near the Grand Teton National Park on September 19 and her death has been ruled a homicide.
It is not clear how she died. The FBI said it believes she was killed between August 27 and August 30.
The last reports of Petito being seen alive were on August 27 when witnesses said they saw the couple involved in a ‘commotion’ in a restaurant.
Local police and the FBI have now been searching for Laundrie for three weeks.
Christopher spent hours joining the hunt for his son about five or six officers before emerging out onto the road (above) at the end of the day’s search
He will continue to guide law enforcement through the area as they investigate a newly found campsite in the reserve
Christopher returned home later in the afternoon, about four hours after he joined investigators at the reserve