The father of Brian Laundrie, the sole “person of interest” named by investigators as they look into the death of Laundrie’s girlfriend Gabby Petito, joined the FBI in its search for his missing fugitive son earlier this week.
The move by Chris Laundrie was viewed as a positive sign for the investigation by a pair of former FBI agents with experience in tracking down fugitives and missing persons, Fox News reported Saturday.
One said it could even give Brian Laundrie’s father the chance to be “candid” with investigators about what he really knows, an opportunity he might not have alongside an attorney in an interview room.
Insider had reported that Chris Laundrie joined FBI agents Thursday for several hours as they searched Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, which is connected to the larger Carlton Reserve area where Brian Laundrie was last suspected of being located in mid-September.
According to the Laundrie family attorney, Steven Bertolini, Chris Laundrie provided assistance to authorities by pointing out “favorite trails and spots” frequented by his missing son.
Nothing noteworthy was discovered, however, and questions remain about whether the elder Laundrie will continue to aid in the search for his wanted son.
“Watch and listen for any indication that he’s continuing to help them,” former FBI agent Terry Turchie told Fox News of Chris Laundrie. “That would be indicative of a breakthrough. […] If [Chris Laundrie] is really sincere in wanting to help the law enforcement…and the FBI, and he has nothing to fear, then he’s going to sit down and start just talking.”
Turchie, who helped track and apprehend Olympics bomber Eric Rudolph in the late 1990s, said additional assistance from Brian Laundrie’s father would help the FBI determine if Chris was “being authentic and really, really sincerely now decided to try and help them find his son.”
In that vein, Chris Laundrie’s Thursday outing with investigations struck former FBI agent Bryanna Fox as “unusual.”
The family of a wanted suspect or person of interest rarely ever participates in such a search, Fox said, primarily because of the possibility that they could locate a clue or tamper with evidence before an agent could document it.
That said, having the father along for the search could help investigators “be able to get really helpful information from him, and that may supersede any type of risk of compromising a piece of evidence,” Fox said.
“By having him out there, and he’s not with his attorneys or, you know, maybe feeling a little bit differently about trying to find his son and feeling really willing to help [law enforcement], he may say things and be more candid than he would…in an interview room at a police department,” she explained. “So that could be very beneficial for law enforcement.” Only time will tell.