Lawyer for the laundry: Missing gun was not released due to ‘crazy atmosphere’

Brian Laundrie died of suicide from a gunshot wound. Launrie’s parents discovered a gun was missing when they voluntarily handed over their firearms to police. (Moab Police)

Estimated reading time: 2-3 minutes

NORTH PORT, Florida – Brian Laundrie’s parents discovered a handgun was missing when they voluntarily surrendered their firearms to law enforcement the same day they informed authorities their son was missing, according to family lawyer Steven Bertolino.

Bertolino’s comments come days after a Florida doctor confirmed that Laundrie, who was the subject of a week-long manhunt for his fiancée Gabby Petitos’ disappearance, died of suicide from a gunshot wound to the head. Laundry’s remains were found in a nature reserve in Florida last month.

Laundrie’s parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, handed over their weapons to police on September 17 – the same day they reported their son missing – when they discovered a gun was not in its case, Bertolino told CNN on Friday. FBI and North Port, Florida, police were present at the time of the discovery, he said.

Asked why information about the missing gun was not shared publicly, Bertolino told CNN that he and law enforcement agreed that “it was best that that information was not public.”

“Imagine, with the crazy atmosphere at the time, if the public thought Brian had a gun,” Bertolino said. “I can not tell why (law enforcement) did not disclose the information, but we talked about it at the time and I think they felt the way I did.”

CNN has contacted the FBI for a comment. Nordhavn police did not immediately respond to a request for comment on Friday.

Laundrie disappeared from her parents’ home in North Port a few days after Petito had been reported missing. The couple had traveled across the country over the summer in a converted van before Laundrie returned home without Petito on September 1st.

The laundry disappeared days after Petito was reported missing, which triggered a multistate survey and caught the attention of social media mirrors. Petito’s remains were found in Wyoming on Sept. 19, and her death was condemned as one killing by manual suffocation.

Meanwhile, authorities focused their search for Laundrie on the huge nature reserve in Florida, where his remains were eventually found October 20th. On Friday, Bertolino said he did not know if a gun was found near Brian’s remains or belongings.

While the Florida District Medical Officer Twelve confirmed Laundrie had died by suicide, the office said it would not publish the autopsy report “until the law enforcement investigation is complete,” the office said in a statement.

The circumstances that led to Petito’s death remain a mystery. FBI described Petito’s fiancé as a “person of interest” in her murder, but he was not charged with her death. A federal grand jury accused him of allegedly using two accounts belonging to another in the days after Petito died.

Resources for suicide prevention

If you or someone you know is struggling with suicidal thoughts, call the Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Crisis hotlines

  • Salt Lake County / UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
  • National Suicide Crisis Text line: Text “HOME” to 741-741
  • Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ Teenagers: 1-866-488-7386
  • University Of Utah Crisis Interventional Crisis Line: 801-587-3000

Online resources

Related stories

More stories you might be interested in


Give a Comment