Throughout the month-long search for Brian Laundrie — the sole “person of interest” in the disappearance and death of his girlfriend, Gabby Petito — there had been speculation that Laundrie’s parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, had played some role in their fugitive son’s disappearance.
Now that recently recovered human remains in a Florida nature preserve have been identified as Brian Laundrie’s remains, attention has shifted to his parents, and the potential that they could face legal trouble of their own, Fox News reports.
Famed criminal defense attorney Mark Geragos believes that is a possibility if it can be proven that the parents provided any sort of assistance to their son — or perhaps withheld pertinent information from police — after a federal warrant had been issued for Brian over the alleged theft and unauthorized use of Petito’s debit card.
In an interview with Fox, Geragos explained of Laundrie’s parents, “Based on what we know so far … the only exposure, potential liability, would be either after the federal warrant was issued or if there was some assistance given while he was a fugitive.”
“Early on during this, when people were speculating that [Laundrie’s] parents had done various things to assist [Laundrie], they said he was exposed,” he continued. “And I just thought that was a lot of chatter.”
However, the attorney said that what has given him “pause” now and compelled his reconsideration of the speculation were statements issued by Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolini just prior to the discovery of Brian’s remains about his parents joining the search effort for their son.
Indeed, Chris and Roberta just happened to be in the direct vicinity when the human remains and personal items belonging to Brian had been discovered in a previously flooded area of the nature preserve that they had reportedly instructed law enforcement to search.
“Supposedly, within a very short period of time, they found not only a backpack and a notebook but his remains,” Geragos added. “That, to me, is going to reignite suspicion as to what their involvement may or may not have been.”
Questions for the parents
Geragos is not alone in turning a wary eye toward the Laundrie parents, as NBC News also reported on the increased scrutiny aimed at both of the parents and the family attorney now that the search for Brian has concluded with the discovery of his remains.
To be sure, though, legal experts cautioned that it would likely be exceptionally difficult for any prosecutors to prove beyond a reasonable doubt, barring any new discoveries, that the parents had aided and abetted their fugitive son.
Nevertheless, the New York Post recently put forward several important questions regarding the parents that remain unanswered and could conceivably shed additional light on the entire situation — if not even expose the Laundries to some measure of culpability.
Those questions include whether the parents, particularly the mother, got along with Petito, whether they knew of Petito’s death prior to the discovery of her strangled body in Wyoming after their son’s disappearance, whether they helped Brian evade local law enforcement and the FBI, and whether they could potentially face criminal charges once all is said and done.