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Laundrie Lawyer: He Left Home 'Extremely Upset'

According to Brian Laundrie's parents, says attorney Steven Bertolino
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 22, 2021 12:52 PM CDT
Laundrie Lawyer: He Left Home 'Extremely Upset'
This Aug. 12, 2021, file photo from video shows Brian Laundrie talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with Gabby Petito, near the entrance to Arches National Park in Utah.   (The Moab City Police Department via AP, File)

(Newser) – On Thursday, the FBI confirmed that remains found in a Florida preserve were those of Brian Laundrie, the person of interest in the death of his fiancee, Gabby Petito. After the announcement of that development, Steven Bertolino, the Laundrie family's attorney, began revealing more info about what went down when Laundrie took off from the Florida home he shared with his parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie. Coverage:

  • 'Upset': Per TMZ, Bertolino told MSNBC on Thursday that Laundrie had been "extremely upset" when he left the house on Sept. 13, the last time his parents say they saw him. "Chris and Roberta were extremely concerned about him," Bertolino elaborated to George Stephanopoulos the next day on Good Morning America, per WABC. "They wish they could have stopped him. Chris said to me, 'I know in hindsight I couldn't stop him, but I just wish I could have.'"
  • Cause of death: On GMA, Bertolino told Stephanopoulos that the family may have more info from the medical examiner on what happened to Laundrie as soon as Friday afternoon.
  • Pressure from Stephanopoulos: Bertolino hedged at a direct line of questioning from the show's host, who asked, "Did Brian tell the Laundries anything about what happened to Gabby before he disappeared?" Bertolino's response: "George, that's not something I can comment on right now, and I'd like to just leave it at that." Stephanopoulos pressed on, asking: "Well, if you can't comment on it, that means you know something about it." From a reticent Bertolino: "I think everybody out there knows that whether the family or myself have some information [to] share, there's not that much that we can say at this point in time and I'm going to leave it at, no comment."
  • Petito's family speaks: In a statement, attorney Richard Stafford passed along a message from the victim's family. "They are grieving the loss of their beautiful daughter," Stafford said in an email to the AP. "Gabby's family will make a statement at the appropriate time and when they are emotionally ready."
  • The notebook: Found near the remains was a notebook that some are hoping will offer clues about what happened between Laundrie and Petito. A source tells CNN the notebook was wet when found, but that it's "possibly salvageable" and that authorities are going to "be very careful with it." Experts hope advances in forensic science will help the process along.
  • Focus on the Laundries: Questions remain now that Laundrie's fate is known. NBC News notes that many of these inquiries are circling around his parents, with some wondering if they helped their son flee. Others want to know about the timing of finding Laundrie's remains in a Florida preserve, which happened the day Chris and Roberta Laundrie joined the search there. Bertolino is waving away the "conjectures" and "theories," noting that the site where the remains were found had simply been underwater previously. "When does it stop?" he said of the speculation.
  • New pics: What may be the last known set of candid photos of Petito and Laundrie have emerged, taken just two days before they were pulled over by police in Moab, Utah. The photographer who took the pictures at Arches National Park on Aug. 10 didn't know the couple, but he says "they stood out because they had the 'van life' look to them, and I remember feeling envious because they seemed like enthusiasts," per the New York Post. The man says he and his wife asked Laundrie, seen sporting a "woven hat," and Petito for tips on how to get down a steep rock slope. "They ended up pulling out moments later, and we exchanged a friendly nod as they passed," the photographer says, per Fox News. "Truly tragic to know how this all has played out."
(Read more Brian Laundrie stories.)

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