A set of very experienced law enforcement eyebrows have been raised over the circumstances in which Brian Laundrie’s remains were found.
Laundrie’s remains were found Wednesday in the T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park. He had been sought in connection with the disappearance and death of his girlfriend, Gabby Petito, who went missing in August and was found dead in Wyoming in September.
Petito and Laundrie were traveling together in the western United States over the summer until multiple reported incidents in late August. Petito was last seen on Aug. 27.
Laundrie returned to Florida alone on Sept. 1, which is within the time frame for when a coroner said Petito was strangled to death.
Laundrie was last seen on Sept. 13. His parents have said he was heading to the nearby nature reserve, which is where remains and objects belonging to Laundrie were found Wednesday. Law enforcement officials confirmed Thursday the remains were Laundrie’s.
#UPDATE: On October 21, 2021, a comparison of dental records confirmed that the human remains found at the T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park are those of Brian Laundrie. @FBITampa pic.twitter.com/ZnzbXiibTM
— FBI Denver (@FBIDenver) October 21, 2021
Laundrie’s parents were part of the group that found the remains, which led former NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce to tell WABC-TV on Wednesday that he found the circumstances “quite strange.”
“There’s just too many strange turns that Chris and Roberta Laundrie having been involved in it to not believe that something is amiss here,” Boyce said.
Boyce said it strains credulity to believe it was simply coincidence that on the first day the reserve was opened to the public, Laundrie’s parents happened to find his belongings.
“The day the park reopens, they go into this specific area … they go to this exact spot and they find the backpack and they identify the backpack from what I understand and the notebook in this particular area, so … it’s quite strange,” Boyce said.
The pieces do not fit properly, he said.
“So, they go to this one location, this remote location where it’s a path where people go by … and they’re being told by the FBI agent that ‘Well, all of a sudden we found something, we found the remains.’ [S]o there’s a lot of things here [that] don’t add up to coincidence, so you wonder exactly how they got there, what they knew all along,” Boyce said.
Boyce wondered if the parents received a tip from someone and knew where to look.
“It sounds like they got a tip from somebody to be honest with you. … But for them to go to that exact location, it’s very, very strange, in that big park … did they know more, were they holding back? And that will be determined in the next couple days, I think.”
— nath (@walker1585) October 20, 2021
According to the New York Post, social media users suggested Laundrie’s parents were part of a conspiracy to dump personal items belonging to their son near the remains to throw off searchers.
“It’s nonsense,” Steve Bertolino, the Laundrie family’s lawyer, said of the speculation. “People with nothing else to do are afraid this case will go away and they will have to go back to following celebrities and others in the fake world of the Internet. Aaron Rodgers got it right!”
Bertolino previously told CNN that Chris and Roberta Laundrie told the FBI and the North Port police they wanted to join the search on Wednesday. Bertolino said it was “happenstance” that the Laundries were in the nature reserve when the remains were found.
“As they went further in, Chris ventured off the trail into the woods. He was zigzagging in different areas, law enforcement was doing the same thing. And Roberta Laundrie was walking down the trail,” Bertolino said.
“At some point, Chris locates what’s called a dry bag. The dry bag is a white bag, laying in the woods, say 20 feet or so off the trail.”
Bertolino said Chris Laundrie first wanted to report the find to authorities but told him that he did not want to leave the bag unguarded while he searched for police because there was a reporter near.
“He did meet up shortly with law enforcement, they looked at the contents of the bag. At that time, law enforcement officers showed him a picture on the phone of a backpack that law enforcement had located also nearby and also some distance off the trail,” Bertolino said.
“At that point, the Laundries were notified there was also remains near the backpack, and they were asked to leave the preserve.”
Bertolino said there was nothing sinister about the parents deciding to join the search on the day their son’s remains were found, and that they went because the reserve had just been reopened to the public.
“The parents had assumed that the experts, the FBI, and all the tracking teams they had would be able to locate Brian based upon the information that we had provided them to the specific areas and trails in the park that Brian liked to visit,” Bertolino said.
“The park had been closed to the public. There was really no other reason for the Laundries to go search anywhere else.”