It’s been one month since Brian Laundrie’s family members say they last saw him on Sept. 13, and authorities have remained tight-lipped about any developments in the search for the 23-year-old, who is a person of interest in his girlfriend Gabby Petito’s death.
On Tuesday, a coroner in Wyoming announced that an autopsy of Petito’s body, found in Grand Teton National Park last month, showed that the 22-year-old had been strangled to death. She and Laundrie had been on an extended, multi-state road trip together until Laundrie returned to their Florida home without Petito in early September and refused to cooperate with authorities investigating his girlfriend’s disappearance ― a twist in the case that helped thrust it into the national spotlight.
Here’s what we’ve learned in the past month about the investigation into Petito’s homicide as well as Laundrie’s whereabouts and behaviour leading up to his own disappearance.
The FBI searched his family home.
Laundrie’s parents reported their son missing on Sept. 17, saying he’d left their North Port, Florida, home a few days prior to go hiking in a nearby nature preserve and never came home.
A few days later, authorities found Petito’s body in Wyoming and the FBI executed a court-authorised search warrant on the Laundrie family home, where the couple and Laundrie’s parents all lived. The federal agents took several of Laundrie’s items as evidence and returned again nearly a week later, reportedly to collect samples of his DNA.
The same day the FBI executed the warrant on Laundrie’s home, police suspended their search for him in the 4,000-acre Carlton Reserve, where he’d reportedly gone hiking, saying they had “exhausted all avenues in searching of the grounds there” and would be broadening the search.
A warrant is out for his arrest.
About a week after Laundrie’s parents reported him missing, federal officials indicted him for the unauthorised use of a debit card to make withdrawals worth more than $1,000 during the period in which Petito went missing.
The charges against Laundrie do not say whose credit card it was, but Richard Stafford, an attorney for Petito’s parents, later alleged that it was Petito’s card.
Though he faces these charges, Laundrie has not been named a suspect in Petito’s death and remains designated as a person of interest.
New bodycam footage showed Petito accusing Laundrie of hurting her.
Additional police body camera footage of the day officers pulled over the couple for a domestic dispute in Utah revealed that Petito had told law enforcement that Laundrie had “grabbed” her face and left a scratch during a confrontation earlier that day.
The footage, released Oct. 2, is the first publicly released evidence of Petito accusing Laundrie of violence. Police stopped the couple on Aug. 12, the day of that dispute, after witnesses called in a report that a “male was striking a female.”
Previously released body camera footage only showed Petito saying she’d slapped Laundrie. In the new footage, an officer is heard telling Petito what the witness described and asking if it’s true. She responded: “I guess, yeah, but I hit him first,” adding that she “slapped him.”
The Laundries went on a camping trip when he returned home without her.
Laundrie’s lawyer, Steven Bertolino, told reporters Sept. 28 that his client and his family went on a camping trip about an hour north of their home at Fort De Soto Park from Sept. 6-7, giving a small glimpse into Laundrie’s activity between when he arrived home without Petito and when he disappeared.
That trip took place a few days before Petito’s family reported her missing on Sept. 11 after not hearing from her for over a week. In the days that followed the Petito family’s report, they say they begged Laundrie and his family to help find their daughter but that the Laundries had all declined to speak with Petito’s family or the police.
The day before Bertolino revealed that camping trip, police were seen searching the 1,000-plus acre park.
The timeline around Laundrie’s disappearance has shifted.
Though Laundrie’s parents originally said they’d last seen their son on Sept. 14, Bertolino issued a correction on Oct. 5 saying he’d actually left for his hike in the Carlton Reserve one day earlier. That means his parents waited one additional day to report him missing on Sept. 17, but it remains unclear when they expected him to come home.
The Laundries’ uncertainty about when they last saw their son perplexed those following the case, given how significant those days must have been for their family. Their son’s girlfriend was just reported missing, her disappearance was starting to gain traction in the news and on social media, and public contempt over their refusal to cooperate with the police was brewing.
Bertolino also revealed that his client’s sister, Cassie Laundrie, had actually seen him twice in the days before he went missing. Before her brother disappeared, she had told “Good Morning America” that “I haven’t been able to talk to him. I wish I could talk to him.” Bertolino said those remarks were misinterpreted. Cassie Laundrie remains the only member of the family to have spoken to the media about the ordeal.