Lawyer Steve Bertolino slams theories that Brian Laundrie's parents planted his remains

'Chris and Roberta went to this area first and, as happenstance was, they stumbled upon these items,' Steve Bertolino told Chris Cuomo


                            Lawyer Steve Bertolino slams theories that Brian Laundrie's parents planted his remains
Brian Laundrie's remains were found after his parents joined the search (Instagram/Gabby Petito and Twitter)

NORTH PORT, FLORIDA: Dental records confirmed that the partial human remains that were found on Wednesday, October 20, in the Carlton Reserve and the adjoining Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in Sarasota County, were of Brian Laundrie. A “person of interest” in the murder of Gabby Petito, Laundrie was revealed to have been missing by his parents more than a month ago. 

Michael F McPherson, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Tampa field office, said on Wednesday that the authorities had found a notebook and a backpack that belonged to Laundrie near the remains in the heavily-wooded, 160-acre Myakkahatchee Park in North Port. The park connects to the Carlton Reserve, a 24,565-acre wildlife refuge, where the authorities had been searching for Laundrie for weeks. The items were found in an area that until recently had been under water, McPherson said.

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“I know you have a lot of questions, but we don’t have all the answers yet,” McPherson said at a news conference on Wednesday, at which he did not take questions. “We are working diligently to get those answers for you.” Laundrie’s items and his remains were found after his parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, had informed the FBI and the police that they intended to come to the park on Wednesday morning to search for their son.

“Chris and Roberta Laundrie have been informed that the remains found yesterday in the reserve are indeed Brian’s,” Laundrie family lawyer Steve Bertolino said in a statement. “We have no further comment at this time and we ask that you respect the Laundries’ privacy at this time.”

The timing of and circumstances surrounding the discovery sparked some skepticism — particularly around a popular allegation that Chris and Roberta Laundrie planted the remains. "In nice terms, it's hogwash," Bertolino told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Wednesday night. "Chris and Roberta went to this area first and, as happenstance was, they stumbled upon these items."



 

When Cuomo asked why Chris and Roberta waited so long to join the search for their son at the park, Bertolino pointed out that it had not been open to the public before Tuesday, October 19. "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," he said.

According to Bertolino, Chris discovered a white plastic dry bag that was determined to belong to Brian, which he found about 20 feet off the trail, in the presence of a reporter. Bertolino said police were the ones who discovered the backpack and human remains nearby.

"Chris didn't want to pick the bag up because he wanted law enforcement to see it," he told Cuomo. "This was caught on camera. Chris couldn't find the law enforcement because they were then out of sight, because Chris had been in the woods, so he didn't want to leave the bag there with the news reporter standing nearby, so he picked it up."



 

"He did meet up shortly with law enforcement. They looked at the contents of the bag," Bertolino went on. "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. At that point, the Laundries were notified that there was also remains near the backpack and they were asked to leave the preserve."

He went on to say that Brian's parents were "heartbroken" over the discovery of his personal items and possibly his remains — the remains were not confirmed to be Laundrie’s at that point.

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