- Brian Laundrie’s family lawyer Steven Bertolino pushed back at speculation around finding his remains.
- Father Chris Laundrie led authorities to the remains hours after joining the weekslong search.
- The idea that Chris Laundrie knew where the remains were is “not too bright,” Bertolino said.
The lawyer for Brian Laundrie’s family vehemently rebutted widespread speculation about the circumstances in which the 23-year-old’s remains were found, saying that “the public doesn’t understand simplicity.”
Brian Laundrie’s remains were found at Florida’s Carlton Reserve Wednesday, concluding a five-week long search in the vast area.
He has been missing since he went for a hike there in mid-September. His parents initially said he went missing on September 14, but later said he vanished on September 13.
Upon finding his remains, the FBI named Laundrie a person of interest in the murder of his girlfriend, Gabby Petito, who was found strangled to death near a Wyoming campsite on September 19.
The couple had embarked on a joint cross-country “van life” road trip throughout the summer, but Petito was declared missing 10 days after Laundrie returned from the trip to their Florida home, alone, on September 1.
The subsequent refusal of Brian, and of his parents Chris and Roberta, to help authorities in the search for Petito fueled widespread outrage, as well as speculation about her death.
Speculation also exists about how the five-week search for Laundrie was ended hours after Chris Laundrie joined the search at Carlton Reserve.
Laundrie family lawyer Steven Bertolino told Insider’s Azmi Haroun and Natalie Musumeci that the parents had “advised” authorities where to look when they joined the search soon after the park was reopened to the public.
Bertolino was visibly frustrated when speaking to NewsNation’s Marnie Hughes on Thursday night.
“It’s not about knowing specifically where to go,” he told Hughes, saying the logic was simply to “start at the beginning” of the trailhead.
The same area had already been searched by teams comprising police, FBI, and later a cadaver-sniffing dog. North Port Police had also used airboats, ATVS, and Sarasota’s mobile command unit, according to CBS affiliate WINK News.
A YouTube video was posted by North Port authorities of that search:
A September 24 tweet from North Port Public Information Officer Josh Taylor on the search illustrates the flooding:
-Josh Taylor (@JoshTaylorPIO) September 24, 2021
Speaking Thursday, Bertolino said that this was why Chris Laundrie had been able to find a white bag belonging to his son, which led authorities to his remains.
K-9 handler and former police officer Kyle Heyen questioned this, telling NewsNation Wednesday that it was “highly suspicious” that a dog missed it.
“If the body had been there, when they went by with cadaver dogs, and the body had been there for more than two or three minutes, the odor would have come through the water,” Heyen said.
Bertolino was visibly frustrated when pressed on the find on Thursday. “It just so happened that that’s where Brian was,” he said. “So, my thought would be anybody who’s questioning that is not too bright.”
“The public doesn’t understand simplicity,” he also said.
Addressing social-media rumors that the Laundries could have planted the remains, Bertolino said that the find had been witnessed by FBI, police and the press.
“When do you think these items were planted? And did you really think the Laundries had skeletal remains of their son in a plastic bag and brought them to the preserve?” he said.
“And if I’m the only one who’s going to say that this is hogwash, because I don’t want to say the word bullshit, then I’m going to say it. It’s bullshit.”