Brian Laundrie's dad asked to 'point out son's favorite trails' & may be asked to identify belongings as he joins search
BRIAN Laundrie's dad was asked to identify his son's favorite trails and hiking spots as he joined the hunt for Gabby Petito's fugitive fiance, the family's lawyer says.
Attorney Steve Bertolino on Wednesday confirmed that Brian's father Chris had joined the search for his son, as it emerged investigators discovered a "fresh campsite" at Florida's Carlton Reserve.
Chris was seen leaving his North Port, Florida, home alone on Thursday morning, NewsNationNow correspondent Brian Entin tweeted.
Entin said Bertolino told him: “Chris Laundrie is assisting Law Enforcement today in the search for Brian. Chris was asked to point out any favorite trails or spots that Brian may have used in the preserve.
"Although Chris and Roberta Laundrie provided this information verbally three weeks ago it is now thought that on-site assistance may be better.
"The preserve has been closed to the public and the Laundries as well but the parents have been cooperating since the search began.”
Bertolino added: "As to yesterday, we were just asked to be on standby as they were focusing in on certain areas."
Former Miami-Dade homicide detective Pat Diaz speculated that Laundrie was perhaps asked to help identify Brian's belongings found at the campsite.
Diaz said he doesn't believe investigators would have asked a suspect's family to help with a search.
"They may have found stuff in the reserve for the father to identify," he told Fox News. "Not a body, but belongings."
Read our Brian Laundrie live blog for the very latest news and updates…
North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor told the outlet his department did not ask for Christopher's involvement.
"In no world would we be the agency asking the family to help search in an FBI-led investigation," he said.
In his initial statement Wednesday, Bertolino said: "Chris Laundrie was asked to assist law enforcement in their search for Brian at the preserve today."
He continued: "Since the preserve has been closed to the public, Chris has not been able to look for Brian in the only place Chris and Roberta believe Brian may be."
He added that North Port police "had to postpone" the father's involvement in the search – an assertion later contradicted by Taylor.
Bertolino later clarified that the request for Chris' involvement "perhaps" came from a "liaison to FBI."
Bertolino did not immediately respond to The Sun's request for information on Chris' role in the investigation on Thursday.
SEARCH DRAGS ON
Brian vanished just days before Gabby's body was discovered on September 19 at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, where the couple had been traveling together.
He drove back to his North Port home alone in Gabby's van on September 1, a week and a half before her mother reported her missing.
Brian's parents reported him missing on September 17 after they claimed he told them he was going for a hike in the Carlton Reserve.
The Laundrie family has drawn some scrutiny after appearing to change the timeline of events they originally shared with police.
According to a statement released by the family's attorney Steven Bertolino on Tuesday, Brian actually "left to hike in the preserve" on Monday, September 13, not Tuesday, September 14 as his parents originally stated.
Bertolino told WFLA: "The Laundries were basing the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events.
"After consulting with the FBI and confirming the day Brian’s Mustang was found and returned to the Laundries’ home, we now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday September 13."
The FBI issued an arrest warrant, accusing Brian of swiping a Capital One debit card between August 31 and September 1.
Brian remains at large but there have been a series of alleged sightings in parts of Florida, Mexico, Canada, and along the Appalachian Trail. Most potential leads have led to dead ends.
He is considered a person of interest in Gabby's death but has yet to officially be named a suspect.
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