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Laundrie attorney: Don’t blame the family for police mistakes

Brian Laundrie, shown in police body camera footage in Moab, Utah.
Brian Laundrie, shown in police body camera footage in Moab, Utah.
Published: Oct. 26, 2021 at 2:26 PM EDT
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NORTH PORT, Fla. (WWSB/WINK) - The attorney for the family of Brian Laundrie says mistakes made by North Port Police in their investigation into his disappearance and death have caused a slew of false allegations against his clients.

“...You can’t blame the family because the police didn’t know enough to follow someone they were obviously surveilling,” Steven Bertolino told ABC7 in a text message Tuesday.

Bertolino responded to reports from North Port Police detailing the surveillance operation that led them to believe that they knew Brian’s whereabouts in the weeks following Gabrielle Petito’s disappearance and death.

Bertolino referenced an interview with North Port Police spokesperson Josh Taylor by WINK News in which he stated that the surveillance of Brian Laundrie had been flawed -- at one point, investigators believed that Brian had left the house in his Ford Mustang. Taylor says they now believe the person who left the home was Roberta Laundrie, Brian’s mother.

Taylor noted the pair were “built similarly.” Bertolino rejected that explanation.

“Everyone makes mistakes,” he texted ABC7. “But Brian and Roberta are not ‘built’ the same. Moreover, it was NPPD that put the ticket on the Mustang at the park and if they saw Brian leave on Monday in the Mustang, which is news to me, then they should have been watching the Mustang and the park starting on Monday and they would have known it was Chris and Roberta that retrieved the Mustang from the park. Now to be clear, none of this may have made a difference with respect to Brian’s life but it certainly would have prevented all of the false accusations leveled by so many against Chris and Roberta with respect to “hiding” Brian or otherwise financing an ‘escape.’ In the end, LE searchers did their best to locate Brian and their efforts are appreciated.”

Bertolino went on to say, “I concur with Mr. Taylor that Brian may have already been deceased when NPPD realized that they “lost track” of him. However, you can’t blame the family because the police didn’t know enough to follow someone they were obviously surveilling. This is a tragedy for two families and any mistakes made by anyone or any entity involved should be acknowledged and used to train or educate others so the mistakes are not repeated.”

Laundrie’s family reported him missing on Sept. 17, saying he had gone to Carlton Reserve for a hike on Sept. 13, later revising that date to Sept 14. Skeletal remains discovered in Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on Oct. 20 were later confirmed by the FBI to belong to Brian.

On Tuesday, the North Port Police Department tweeted the following:

ABC7 has reached out to Josh Taylor for comment but he is currently out of town.

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