NEW YORK (WCBS 880) – The attorney for the Laundrie family disclosed that a cause or matter of death couldn't be determined in an autopsy, and the process will continue elsewhere. Meanwhile, North Port police answered questions as to how Brian Laundrie escaped his parent's home unnoticed.
Here’s the latest:
10 p.m., Oct. 22: FLORIDA POLICE ON BRIAN LAUNDRIE LEAVING HOME, GOING TO RESERVE: 'WE MISSED HIM.'
North Port police Public Information Officer Josh Taylor spoke to NewsNation Now’s Brian Entin Friday about the search for Brian Laundrie, including how he was able to leave his home without being caught.
Taylor said Laundrie wasn’t followed to reserve, to the shock of many who followed the case.
“Our intention was to keep an eye on Brian, and clearly him going out there, we missed him going out there,” said Taylor. "We weren't there at that point in the case."
Entin revealed that hidden cameras had been installed by police around the Laundrie home, including some before Brian Laundrie went missing.
Taylor also answered as to why after a lengthy search, Brian was finally found early Wednesday when his parents visited the park.
“This case, from the onset, has been odd,” said Taylor. “So it almost seems par for the course in this, unfortunately. I think it is a coincidence, that’s my belief.”
Taylor said he thinks a cause of death for Laundrie will be known eventually. He couldn’t reveal if a gun was found or not.
Is North Port's police department owning up to any mistakes it made?
"Sure, I don't know that an investigation works 100% like you want it to. What I'll say is, we were the ones doing everything in our power to get answers on this ... if mistakes were made, there is human error involved with every investigation, it certainly wasn't from a lack of taking it seriously, or hustle, or knowledge, it was just, sometimes things happen, said Taylor.
9:30 p.m., Oct. 22: FBI DISCUSSED CHARGES WITH LAUNDRIE PARENTS, HAVE 'EVERYTHING THEY NEED' IN PETITO CASE: ATTORNEY
Laundrie attorney Steve Bertolino said the FBI discussed possible charges being filed against the parents, but ended up declining to, he told NBC News Friday.
"What I can tell you is that conversations were held several weeks ago with the FBI with respect to certain charges," Bertolino told the outlet. "When questioned and when certain communications were had between myself and the FBI I think it was realized that charges were not appropriate."
Bertolino couldn’t say how severe the charges would’ve been, adding that rumors of offers for immunity to the parents for helping find Brian were false.
"I want to be clear, there no threat there was no coercion on behalf of the FBI," he said. "There was no deal. There were certainly conversations as one would expect happens in every criminal case."
9 p.m., Oct. 22: POLICE PUT UP HIDDEN CAMERAS AROUND LAUNDRIE HOUSE
North Port, Florida police installed hidden cameras at and near the Laundrie home, including one in a neighbor’s yard that was pointed at the home, NewsNation Now’s Brian Entin reported Friday night.
Entin said police put up some cameras before Brian Laundrie disappeared, and others afterwards.
5:30 p.m., Oct. 22: NO CAUSE, MATTER OF DEATH IDENTIFIED IN BRIAN LAUNDRIE'S AUTOPSY
An autopsy on Brian Laundrie’s remains reportedly did not net any answers, the family's attorney said Friday.
Laundrie attorney Steven Bertolino said no matter or cause of death could be identified at this point, according to TMZ.
Bertolino said the next step will be sending Laundrie’s bones to an anthropologist for examination.
The attorney could not clear up why exactly an anthropologist will be involved.
1:30 P.M., Oct. 22: BRIAN WAS ‘VERY UPSET’ BEFORE LEAVING FOR RESERVE, LAUNDRIE ATTORNEY SAYS
In an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America” on Friday, Steven Bertolino, the Long Island–based attorney for the Laundries, said Brian Laundrie was “extremely upset” in September before heading to the Florida nature park near his home where his remains were found Wednesday.
Speaking with ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos, Bertolino said the family does not yet know how Brian died.
“I was informed by law enforcement yesterday that perhaps midday today we might have some more information,” Bertolino told Stephanopoulos.
On Thursday, authorities confirmed that Brian's skeletal remains were found in the Carlton Reserve and neighboring Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park.
Asked if any new information was revealed from a notebook and backpack of Brian's found near the remains, Bertolino said, “None at all.”
“The white bag that was picked up by Chris Laundrie was almost immediately turned over to law enforcement. Law enforcement found the backpack. I don’t know if the notebook was in the white bag that Chris picked up or if it was in the backpack that law enforcement picked up,” the attorney said.
Bertolino also revealed new details about Brian leading up to his disappearance on Sept. 13, when he told his parents he was going hiking at the Carlton Reserve and never returned.
“Brian had been extremely upset,” Bertolino said. “You know, Chris and Roberta were very concerned about him. They expressed that to me, that when he walked out the door that evening, they wished they could have stopped him, they wished they could have prevented him from going out. But he was intent on leaving, and Chris said to me, ‘In hindsight, I know I couldn’t stop him, I just wish I could have.’”
Asked if the family believes Brian killed himself, Bertolino said he had talked about the possibility with Brian’s parents.
“You know we’ve had that conversation between the three of us—Chris, Roberta and myself—several times,” Bertolino said. “We just do not know. Of course, knowing his mental state when he walked out the door, it was always a concern. But you know, let’s wait for the medical examiner. If they can come up with some other explanation for the cause of death, we’re going to accept that. If not, I guess we’re going to have to accept that Brian did kill himself.”
Asked how Chris and Roberta knew where to look at the nature park when they searched there Wednesday morning before Brian's items and remains were found, Bertolino said they were familiar with areas he liked to go.
“Brian had hiked in that reserve and the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park many times,” Bertolino said. “Chris has hiked with him on several occasions as well. They kind of knew his favorite spots. We had told law enforcement from the beginning where Brian would most likely be in the areas of the park. When Chris went on Monday night (Sept. 13) to look for Brian when he didn’t return, you know, he saw the car. It was dark. Everything was wet and flooded. And, you know, he returned the next day, and Chris and Roberta looked again in the same areas. But again, it was flooded and they really couldn’t get off trail. So how and when Brian wound up in that area—you know, maybe he walked on the trail and then circled back some day—I don’t have the answer to that.”
As for the location where the Laundries looked for their son in the park, Bertolino said, “that was just starting at the beginning and working their way into the trail.”
“And as everybody knows, Brian’s remains and the personal items were located somewhat in close proximity to the entrance to the park,” he said.
Asked if Brian told his parents anything about what happened to Gabby before he disappeared, Bertolino said, “That’s not something I can comment on right now. And I’d like to just leave it at that.”
Stephanopoulos pressed Bertolino further, saying, “If you can’t comment on it, it means you know something about it.”
“Well, I think everybody out there knows whether the family or myself have some information to share, but you know there’s not much we can say at this point in time, and you know I’m going to leave it at 'no comment,'” Bertolino said.
Asked if the family has been cooperating with the FBI, Bertolino said: “When it comes to the FBI, we have absolutely nothing to say with respect to the Gabby Petito incident. With respect to Brian, we’ve been cooperating from day one. From a legal perspective, those are two different scenarios. One was the missing persons with Brian, one was the missing persons with Gabby.”
Asked if the family had anything to say to the Petito family, Bertolino said, “Not at this time.”
“Like I said, I haven’t spoken to Chris and Roberta (today),” he added. “You know, yesterday was very hard on them, as I’m sure everybody can imagine. I’m sure at some point in the future, comments and discussions may be had.”
11 a.m., Oct. 22: LAUNDRIE FAMILY ATTORNEY SLAMS ‘BULLS***’ THEORIES ABOUT HIS CLIENTS
Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino slammed the media and the public for the “bulls***” theories surrounding the disappearance of Brian Laundrie and the discovery of his remains this week.
Bertolino gave a lengthy interview with NewsNation on Thursday, shortly after remains in Florida’s Carlton Reserve were confirmed to be those of Brian.
Speculation has swirled about how Brian's parents, Chris and Roberta, were able to find items belonging to their son so quickly on Wednesday when searching the recently reopened reserve, which authorities had been scouring for weeks. Bertolino said it’s simple: the area where the items were found had been underwater but was more accessible when Brian’s parents went to search the trail there with law enforcement.
“They started at the beginning of the preserve,” Bertolino said. “It just so happened that that’s where Brian was. So my thought would be—anybody who’s questioning that is not too bright.”
He said that Brian’s parents had reached out to him on Tuesday night to express interest in searching the park, which had just reopened to the public on Tuesday. Bertolino said he notified a contact at the North Port Police Department about the parents’ plans and got a message back, saying, “Thank you for the heads up.” Authorities then met the parents at the Carlton Reserve at 7 a.m. Wednesday. A short time later, items belonging to Brian were found, as were remains later confirmed to be his.
Bertolino said even though the FBI, police and members of the press were present at the reserve with Brian’s parents on Wednesday morning, “You still have these nonsensical people putting forth ideas that certain items were planted.”
“When did you think these items were planted? And do you really think the Laundries had skeletal remains of their son in a plastic bag and brought them to the reserve?” Bertolino said. “Do you realize how ludicrous that is, how aggravating, how maddening it is to even hear those things? And the fact it’s being put out there by the press as well, that’s where my level of frustration and anger is coming from.”
“Maybe somebody with a platform should step up and say, ‘Hey, knock it off. This is just silly,’” he added. “So if I’m the only one who has to say that this is hogwash, because I didn’t want to say the word bulls***, then I’m going to say it. It’s bulls***, and I’m sorry if John Q. Public doesn’t get that.”
Bertolino also gave new details about his relationship with the Laundries and the events of recent weeks.
He said the parents have been “distraught for the last couple of days now” and were informed by police Thursday at their home that the remains were positively identified as Brian.
“They’re extremely upset and for some unknown reason there is still people outside of their home yelling and screaming and causing a ruckus. Any parent that’s grieving the loss of a child should not have to deal with that,” he said, adding that “of course they understand” why so much attention is on them.
He said the media has helped fuel the “circus” outside the Laundrie home. “There was no need for it to be that way,” he said.
Asked why the parents “lawyered up” in September as Gabby Petito was missing, Bertolino said, “I’ve been a friend of Chris Laundrie for over 25 years. And when I got a phone call from Chris advising me that he was getting some inquiries from law enforcement, he asked me if I could assist them, and of course I was more than glad to do so.”
Bertolino said he spoke with Brian on Sept. 12 and Sept. 13 before he disappeared. Asked about any conversations he had with the 23-year-old, Bertolino said he couldn’t say and cited attorney-client privilege.
He said he only spoke with Brian by phone and had not seen him in person. The last time Brian’s parents saw him was the morning he went for a hike on Sept. 13.
“His plan was to go out for a hike and absorb the fresh air is what I understand,” Bertolino said of Brian.
He said Brian was not in communication with his parents after he left the house that day, noting that Brian had left his cellphone at home. He said he did not know where Brian was in the days that followed, only that he “went to the reserve.”
“We were hopeful that he was alive, because we had not heard from him and there was no sign of him after all of the search efforts that law enforcement had made,” Bertolino said. “Obviously with each passing day and week, we understood that there might be a grim reality coming in the future. Those were confirmed today.”