The man who disappeared after his girlfriend was reported missing — and later found dead — while the two were supposed to be on a cross-country road trip was seen by his sister on two occasions in early September before his disappearance, his lawyer said in a recent statement, according to NBC 2 in Fort Myers, Florida.
Brian Laundrie, who has been named a person of interest in the case of Gabby Petitio’s death, hasn’t been seen since mid-September, WTSP in Tampa Bay reports, when the 23-year-old was reported missing by his parents after they told police that “he went hiking at Sarasota County’s Carlton Reserve on Sept. 14 and never returned.”
A warrant has since been issued for his arrest on charges of debit card fraud. NBC News reports that the FBI said Laundrie “knowingly and with intent to defraud, used one or more unauthorized access devices, namely a Capitol One Bank debit card” in incidents that took place after the death of Petito, whom some reports have claimed was engaged to Laundrie.
Efforts to locate and arrest Laundrie have thus far come up short. The FBI has reportedly asked “individuals with knowledge of Mr. Laundrie’s role in this matter or his current whereabouts to contact” the bureau.
The search for Laundrie
The latest development in the case of Petito’s death comes by way of Steven Bertolino, Laundrie’s attorney who, according to NBC 2, insists that Laundrie’s sister physically saw him Sept. 1 “when he stopped by her home.” NBC 2 noted that “[t]his is the same day law enforcement confirmed Brian returned to Florida from a trip he took with his fiancé,” Petito.
NBC 2 added: “Bertolino also confirmed Cassie saw her brother again on Sept. 6 at Fort De Soto Park while the Laundrie family was there.”
Cassie Laundrie had told reporters in an interview later in September that she hadn’t spoken with her brother. “I haven’t been able to talk to him. I wish I could talk to him,” she said, according to People magazine.
In his statement, Bertolino attempted to explain the timeline of events.
“Cassie saw her brother Brian on September 01 when he stopped by her home and again on September 6 at Fort De Soto Park. Law enforcement agencies are well aware of these dates,” the lawyer said, according to NBC 2. “Any prior communication by Cassie that does not reflect these dates is simply a difference of relating an answer to a question misinterpreted by Cassie or poorly posed by the inquirer.”
The search for answers
Petito, for her part, was first reported missing on Sept. 11. She was found dead in Wyoming on Sept. 19 in what has since been ruled a homicide. No one has been directly charged for her death at this point, however.
Bertolino told People that the Laundrie family remains “hopeful” that Brian is found. “They are concerned,” Bertolino said, “but hopeful that he is found alive.”
It’s a sentiment widely shared by those seeking justice for Petito as the search for answers continues.