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If Brian Laundrie's Remains Are Found, His Parents Can Still Be Investigated

Newsweek logo Newsweek 10/15/2021 Jack Dutton
Brian Laundrie was reported missing days before the discovery of his girlfriend Gabby Petito's body and a manhunt has focused on an inhospitable Florida wildlife reserve © Utah Police Brian Laundrie was reported missing days before the discovery of his girlfriend Gabby Petito's body and a manhunt has focused on an inhospitable Florida wildlife reserve

Police continue to search for Brian Laundrie in the Carlton Nature Reserve in Florida this week, calling out a cadaver dog on Thursday to help them find his body. While it is not known whether Laundrie is dead or alive, if his body is found in the sprawling swamp, his parents could still be investigated.

Dozens of investigators have been searching the 25,000-acre reserve since Laundrie's parents declared him missing and retrieved his car from there on September 15. Authorities will be joined by K9 Diesel, a three-year-old Labrador Retriever certified in human remains detection, the Daily Mail reported on Thursday.

Laundrie, Gabby Petito's fiancé, is missing and has been named as a person of interest in her death. Petito was declared missing on September 11, 10 days after not returning from a cross-country tour of national parks with Laundrie.

Petito was last seen alive in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, on a cross-country road trip with Laundrie on August 25. She was found dead in Grand Teton National Park on September 19, and officials have ruled that her death was a homicide. On October 12, a Wyoming coroner confirmed Petito had died of strangulation.

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On Thursday, a News Nation watcher on Twitter asked the hosts Brian Entin and Ashleigh Barnfield: "If they do find Brian dead can they still look into the involvement of his parents?"

"Absolutely I would assume so – you [Banfield] might know better than me with this one – but I would assume so if they can prove that the parents somehow hid Brian at one point or helped him get away, yes, absolutely," Entin, the network's Miami-based correspondent, said.

"It's a great question, I will only add to it that if you are guilty of obstruction of justice it doesn't matter if the people you are obstructing justice regarding are dead, so yes, if you lie to the police, it doesn't matter who dies around you, it is a crime," said anchor Ashleigh Banfield.

Banfield has previous experience covering legal issues with her CNN show Legal View with Ashleigh Banfield.

Newsweek has contacted State Attorney for Palm Beach County Dave Aronberg for comment on whether Laundrie's parents could still be investigated in such a scenario.

Laundrie returned to his parent's house in North Fort, Florida, without Petito on September 1. He was declared missing on September 17. Laundrie's parents initially said they last saw their son on September 14, telling authorities at the time they believed he was heading to the Carlton Reserve nearby to hike or camp. They later changed that date to September 13. However, Laundrie's father Chris Laundrie joined the search for his son on October 7, suggesting the family could be cooperating with law enforcement.

In an interview that aired on the Today show that aired on October 6, Petito's parents said when they stopped hearing from Gabby, their first calls and texts were to Brian Laundrie's parents. They said the Laundries never replied.

It has been reported that the Laundries had gone camping on September 6 and September 7, but questions can be raised about why they allegedly did not respond to desperate phone calls and text messages from the Petitos.

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