Brian Laundrie is still missing, and now his attorney has been slammed online for doing something unforgivable during the ongoing investigation.
Laundrie and Petito’s lawyers have been in correspondence after a post was shared on behalf of the defence attorney’s business…
It has lead some people to believe that he may have had some involvement in Laundrie’s disappearance.
It all started on September 11th when influencer, Gabby Petito, was reported missing to police by her mother.
Petito had not been in touch with her family since late August when she and her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, were in Wyoming.
Laundrie returned to Florida on September 1st, without Petito.
He’s been named as a person of interest in the case by the authorities.
The pair had been documenting their travels on social media.
But, Petito had not shared a post to her Instagram account for 3 weeks.
North Port police chief, Todd Garrison, issued a statement when the search for her whereabouts began.
“We are pleading with anyone, including Brian, to share information with us on her whereabouts in the past few weeks,” said Garrison, as per the BBC. “The lack of information from Brian is hindering this investigation. The answers will eventually come out.”
The van the pair has been sharing was seized and searched for clues.
“Brian is also refusing to explain why he left Gabby all alone and drove her van to Florida. These are critical questions that require immediate answers,” the Petito family said in a statement.
Throughout the search for Petito, the Laundrie family has largely remained very quiet in regards to her disappearance.
However, Laundrie’s sister, Cassie Laundrie, did open up in an exclusive interview with GMA where she insisted that she and her family “want Gabby to be found safe,” ABC7 NY reported.
“Obviously me and my family want Gabby to be found safe,” Laundrie said.
“She’s like a sister and my children love her, and all I want is for her to come home safe and found and this to be just a big misunderstanding.”
Despite the pleas for information and days of looking, the search for Petito was largely unsuccessful…
Until Sunday 19th, that is.
On Sunday, human remains were discovered by authorities searching the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
In a news conference, FBI officials said that the remains were “consistent with the description of” Petito, CNN reports.
Charles Jones, an FBI agent based in Denver, said at the time: “Earlier today, human remains were discovered, consistent with the description of Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Petito.”
The discovery shocked people across the world.
But, what was just as shocking, is the power of the internet.
The human remains found by crews were discovered near where YouTubers filmed Petito’s van prior to her disappearance.
Jenn and Kyle Bethune, known as “Red White & Bethune” on YouTube, spotted Petito’s van in their video after they reviewed their footage in light of her disappearance.
The footage, captured on August 27th, shows a white van parked up at the side of the road in Grand Teton National Park’s Spread Creek Dispersed camping area, Insider reports.
This location is near to where the FBI announced that human remains had been found that matched Petito’s description.
In the footage uploaded to their YouTube channel, the Bethune’s wrote:
“We were editing our Sunday video, tonight and we were looking at footage from on August 27th, 2021 around 6:00 pm to 6:30 pm in Spread Creek Dispersed Camping. We had passed by a white van with Florida Plates. We noticed it because we are originally from Florida and wanted to stop and say hi. When we passed the van, all the lights were off and it didn’t look like anyone was there. We ended up leaving because we couldn’t find a spot.”
Speaking with Insider, Bethune explained that the camera, in their own van, had accidentally been left recording by her husband when it filmed Petito’s van.
Once they spotted it and realized that it could be helpful in the search for Petito, they gave it to the FBI who later located the remains in the area.
Although progress into Petito’s disappearance has been made over the past few days, many think that police should have done more for the case and sooner…
Particularly when it comes to Laundrie.
Officers are being criticized for allowing Laundrie to disappear before he was questioned about the investigation into Petito’s whereabouts.
Laundrie disappeared last week after investigators had spent days asking for him and his attorney to co-operate with them. It was only during a visit to the Laundrie family home that authorities learned that Laundrie had been missing for 3 days.
Officers’ failure to interrogate Laundrie hasn’t only been slammed by people online…
It has also been criticized by experts and former detectives.
Ed Gavin, an expert in missing person cases and former acting chief of the New York City Administration for Children’s Services, told the New York Post that Laundrie should have been “under surveillance.”
“They should’ve immediately placed him under surveillance,” Gavin said. “Immediately.”
“They should’ve been all over him. The fact that they let him out of their sight, that’s a no-no. Time is of the essence with these investigations.”
While Pat Diaz, a former Miami-Dade homicide detective, spoke with Fox News and explained that investigators should have obtained a warrant.
“Why would you get consent from the guy, and not get a search warrant?” Diaz said. “You can get a search warrant for everything in that house, including his laptop.”
They added that examining Laundrie’s device would have helped to provide police investigating the case with significant clues.
But police aren’t just being called out for their handling of the case…
People are also questioning why they didn’t take further action on a 911 call of a “possible domestic violence” incident between Petito and Laundrie that happened a month before her disappearance.
Police officers released bodycam footage of Petito and Laundrie after they followed up on a 911 call made by a witness in Utah.
In the call on September 12th, the man claims to have seen Laundrie hit Petito before getting into his van and driving off.
Police arrived at the scene of the domestic incident report shortly after the call was made…
And the released footage shows officers talking to Petito and Laundrie on the side of the road showing Petito visibly distressed.
The hour-long bodycam footage has since been watched by thousands…
It shows officers’ interaction with the couple when they pulled over their white van outside Arches National Park in Moab.
The footage, obtained by ABC7, shows the officer separate the couple and begin to question them about what led to the 911 call.
During her conversation with the officer, Petito can be heard saying: “I have really bad OCD. I was apologizing to him saying I’m sorry I’m so mean.
“We’ve been fighting all morning. He wouldn’t let me in the car before… He told me I needed to calm down.”
The officer then sat Petito in the back of his patrol car before moving to talk to Laundrie.
Speaking with the officer, Laundrie said: “She just gets worked up sometimes, I try to distance myself from her. I locked the car.
“I said, ‘Let’s just take a breather.’ She had her phone. I was trying to push her away to say, ‘Let’s just take a step back,'” he said while adding that Petito hit him with her phone.
As per ABC7, the incident was reportedly categorized by police as a “mental/emotional health break” rather than a domestic assault.
The couple reportedly agreed to spend the night separately instead of charges being filed with the police helping Laundrie to sort a hotel room while Petito remained with the van.
From the footage, it might appear that Petito was the initiator of the violence…
However, the 911 call, that has been released to the public, says otherwise.
As per the call obtained by CBS, the caller can be heard telling police…
“I’m right in the corner of Main Street by Moonflower and we are driving and I’d like to report a domestic dispute. Florida with a white van – Florida license plate, white van,” The man says before police ask him for the details.
“They just drove off. They’re going towards Main Street. They made a right onto Main Street from Moonflower. We drove by him, a gentleman was slapping the girl,” the caller says.
“‘He was slapping her?” the officer inquires.
“Yes. And then we stopped. They ran down and up the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off.”
He then goes into detail about the van and where exactly the incident took place.
You can listen to the audio for yourself below…
Then, just weeks after the incident, Gabby Petito’s mom received a message from her daughter’s phone.
She admitted that the abrupt text was what ignited her concern for her daughter.
As Schmidt does not believe this text was actually written by Petito. “The van was in Florida on the 1st [of September]. I think I can do the math,” she explained to the New York Post.
Schmidt however, refused to comment on who she did believe had sent the message.
The text sent on August 30th read: “No service in Yosemite,” which Nicole Schmidt feels was very unlike her daughter.
The text came just 1 day after her final Instagram post was shared to her account.
Then Laundrie arrived back home without Petito 4 days later, setting off more alarm bells.
Another cryptic message, which was found on a hard drive in the couple’s van, has been released thanks to a newly surfaced warrant.
According to the warrant, this was the last text Schmidt received from her daughter.
The warrant declares…
“The text message read, ‘Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls.'” It continues: “The reference to ‘Stan,’ was regarding her grandfather, but per the mother, she never calls him ‘Stan.’ The mother was concerned that something was wrong with her daughter.”
It seems that those investigating Petito’s case feel the hard drive could contain essential evidence into the events that lead to her death…
Something that we’re all hoping for, for the sake of Petito’s family and friends.
An autopsy has now been carried out on the body found in Wyoming on Sunday.
And it has been confirmed that that body belonged to 22-year-old Gabby Petito.
It has also been confirmed that her cause of death was homicide.
And since the case hit national media, the main person of interest, Brian Laundrie, has been missing.
Now, internet sleuths are trying to figure out what happened.
However, while the search for Laundrie goes on, Petito’s family have had to deal with disgusting online trolls.
On Wednesday, a cease and desist letter was sent to Laundrie’s attorney by Petito’s lawyer…
After a picture of Petito was posted to his Yelp page.
In the letter, Petito’s lawyer, Richard Stafford, demanded that Steven Bertolino remove the photo and refrain from posting any more pictures of Petito for publicity…
Claiming that Bertolino did this “in an effort to gain business.”
According to the Daily Mail, the letter sent by Stafford read: “The Petito and Schmidt family are demanding that you remove Gabby Petito’s picture from your Yelp page.”
He continued: “The family tried to remove their daughter’s picture from your page and were informed that only the business owner can add or remove pictures.
“Furthermore, the Petito and Schmidt family demand that you cease and desist posting pictures of Gabby Petito to any and all of your social media pages, web pages, or advertisements in an effort to gain business.”
Stafford then threatened legal action on behalf of Petito’s family unless the issue was “taken care of by 2 pm.”
As per Insider, Bertolino spoke out about the accusations being made against him, claiming that he had no control over the Yelp page as it wasn’t run by him.
“I have never used social media or any other electronic platform for advertising other than maintaining a Web site,” Bertolino told the publication. “I do not control the internet sites nor the hacks and public that have been overrunning the internet with fake comments and posts.”
Bertolino claimed that Yelp had to deactivate his page due to unusual activity from “inordinate and unconfirmed posts.”
Since the incident, hundreds have flocked to the comments section of his Yelp page, criticizing Bertolino for defending Laundrie, even going as far as to say he helped Laundrie escape.
While Yelp has come forward to confirm business owners have no control over posts made by individuals, we’re just glad the picture has been removed.