Newest demise investigation

from: Allyson Henning, Heath Monahan, Nexstar media cable

Posted: Oct 26, 2021 / 5:11 PM EDT
Updated: 10/26/2021 / 5:18 PM EDT

NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) – Police in North Port, Florida do not believe the “misidentification” between Brian Laundrie and his mother Roberta said the week he went missing had a major impact on the investigation a department spokesman said Tuesday.

North Port Public Information Officer Josh Taylor admitted Monday that officers monitoring the laundry house believed they saw Brian Laundrie in the family’s gray Mustang on September 15. They later discovered that it was actually Brian’s mother, Roberta.

Police admit they mistook Roberta Laundrie for Brian Laundrie the week he went missing

Taylor told the WFLA Tuesday that the misidentification didn’t have a major impact on costs and the investigation.

“Aside from the confusion, it probably hasn’t changed anything. There’s a very good chance Brian was already dead, ”he said. “He still had to be found.”

Steve Bertolino, attorney representing the Laundrie family, responded to Taylor’s testimony in a text message to the WFLA.

“None of this would have made any difference to Brian’s life, but it would certainly have prevented all of the false accusations that so many have made against Chris and Roberta of ‘hiding’ Brian or otherwise funding an ‘escape ‘”He called.

Taylor noted that the department admitted the mix-up because police wanted the public to better understand why they thought Laundrie was home that week. North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison said during a news conference on Sept. 16 that officers knew where Laundrie was.

“[The mix-up] was a direct result of the family’s lack of cooperation at the start of this investigation, ”said Taylor.

The North Port spokesman previously told the WFLA that the Laundrie family would not speak to police, who visited their home on September 11, the night Gabby Petito was reported missing. He said they only gave information to their lawyer that night.

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“You can’t blame the family for not knowing enough to follow someone they were obviously monitoring,” said Bertolino.

Police mistook Roberta Laundrie for her son on Sept. 15, Taylor said – two days before Laundrie’s missing person report was filed, but several days after he actually went missing, the family’s lawyer said. September 15 is also the day Laundrie was named a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance.

The first time Laundrie was publicly declared missing, police said his parents last saw him on September 14 when he left home to go hiking in Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in North Port. Laundrie family lawyer Steve Bertolino provided an updated schedule in early October, saying the family believed their son actually departed a day earlier, on September 13.

Bertolino said last week he notified the FBI the night Laundrie did not return home. He also said the parents went to the park on September 15 and brought the Mustang home so it wouldn’t be towed.

After more than a month of searching for Laundrie in Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park and the attached Carlton Reserve, authorities found human remains last week. The FBI confirmed the next day that the remains were from Laundrie.

“This is a tragedy for two families and any mistakes made by anyone or any unit involved should be recognized and used to train or educate others so that the mistakes do not repeat themselves,” Bertolino said.

Bertolino said Monday that the Laundrie family mourned privately in Florida with their daughter Cassie. The parents were returned to their North Port home on Tuesday afternoon.


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