Laundrie lawyer: family gun went missing; he, cops kept it secret

Gabby Petito Case

FILE – This Aug. 12, 2021 file photo from video provided by the police department in Moab, Utah, shows Brian Laundrie talking to police after he and Gabby Petito’s van was pulled over near the entrance to Arches National Park. The FBI on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021, identified human remains found in a Florida nature preserve as those of Laundrie, a person of interest in the death of girlfriend Gabby Petito while the couple was on a cross-country road trip. (The Moab Police Department via AP, File)

NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) — Knowledge of a gun missing from the home of Brian Laundrie’s family in September was kept from the public, according to Steven Bertolino, attorney for the family.

Tuesday, a medical examiner revealed Brian Laundrie died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head after he disappeared during the search for his fianceé, Gabby Petito.

Bertolino said at the time of Brian Laundrie’s disappearance that Chris and Roberta Laundrie gave their guns to police on Sept. 17 while officers completed the missing persons paperwork. During the transfer, it was learned that a handgun was missing from its case.

“Both (law enforcement) and myself felt it was best for that information not to be public,” Bertolino said in a statement.

While Brian Laundrie’s belongings and notebook were found with his remains, neither the FBI nor North Port police have said if there was a gun recovered from the Carlton Reserve.

“Imagine, with the frenzied atmosphere at the time, if the public thought Brian had a gun,” Bertolino added. “I can’t speak to why (law enforcement) did not reveal the info, but we spoke about it at the time and I believe they felt as I did.”

“I do not know if a gun was found near Brian’s remains and possessions,” the attorney said. “You would have to confirm that with (law enforcement).”

Bertolino’s remarks come amid discussions concerning possible charges for those who may have aided or abetted Brian Laundrie’s attempts to evade police.

A lawyer for the family of Gabby Petito also suggested possible charges for “additional individuals” in a statement shared earlier this week.

“The family was asked to not make any comments and let the FBI continue their investigation,” said Rick Stafford, the Petito family attorney. “The family was also asked to wait for the United States Attorney’s Office to make a determination on whether any additional individuals will be charged.”

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