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Brian Laundrie’s parents KNEW gun was gone when he fled but didn’t tell public he was armed due to ‘frenzied atmosphere’

BRIAN Laundrie's parents knew a gun was missing from their home when their fugitive son fled to a Florida nature park amid a probe into the disappearance of his slain fiance Gabby Petito, his family's lawyer said.

Laundrie's parents, Chris and Roberta, reportedly discovered a handgun was missing from their collection when they voluntarily surrendered all of their firearms to police on Sept. 17 - the same day they reported him missing, attorney Steve Bertolino said.

The weapon was reportedly missing from its case. Officers from the FBI and North Port Police Department were inside the home when the discovery was made, Bertolino said.

When pressed as to why information about the missing gun wasn't disclosed publicly, Berolino told CNN both he and law enforcement agreed it was "best for that information to not be public."

"Imagine, with the frenzied atmosphere at the time, if the public thought Brian had a gun," he said.

"I cannot speak to why [police] did not reveal the info but we spoke about it at the time and I believe they felt as I did."

Brian had left home on September 13, telling his parents he was going hiking in the nearby Carlton Reserve but failed to return home.

Just over five weeks later, the 23-year-old's skeletal remains were found in a marshy patch of land inside Myakkahatchee Creek Park on October 20.

Officials revealed earlier this week that Brian died from a single self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The ruling came following a weeks-long investigation after an initial autopsy came back inconclusive due to the advanced state of decomposition his remains were found in.

It's currently unclear whether Laundrie took his parents' missing gun, or whether it was the one he used to kill himself.

The FBI has been contacted for comment on Bertolino's remarks.

Laundrie was never charged or publicly named as a suspect in relation to Petito's death, however, he was the sole person of interest in the case.

A warrant was issued for arrest days after his disappearance for alleged bank fraud after he reportedly racked up charges of more than $1000 on a bank card belonging to Petito in the days after she's believed to have been killed.

The remains of Petito, 22, were found in a campsite near Wyoming's Grand Teton Nation Park on September 19.

An autopsy found that she had been strangled to death by a "human force" between three and four weeks earlier.

Three experts exclusively told The Sun earlier this week that Laundrie's suicide was a sign that he was likely responsible for Gabby's death.

Former veteran NYPD homicide detective Tom Joyce said the corner's suicide ruling confirms "What we knew already about the case."

"I think we all know he was responsible," Joyce speculated. "He understood the gravity and low likelihood of getting away with it. He contemplated his options and felt this was the easiest way out.

"I don't consider it an absolute 'confession', though, which we should all wish he did before he took his life."

Ex-federal prosecutor Neama Rahmani agreed with Joyce, adding: "All the evidence tells the same story: that Laundrie killed himself after killing Petito.

"The only question is whether Laundrie left a suicide note and whether it is salvageable after being underwater, and whether the gun will ever be found."

Forensic pathologist Dr. Cyril Wecht, the former president of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences, also believes Laundrie's suicide is an admission of guilt over Petito's murder.

He told The Sun: "I believe he killed her out there [in Wyoming], and he came to realize there was no way out.

"And rather than talk about it," he continued, "he took his own life.

"It makes all the sense in the world. That's it for the case - done and dusted."


A number of questions do still remain in the case, even after Brian's cause of death was finally confirmed.

Chief among them is precisely what happened between Gabby and Brian on their ill-fated road trip touring the US national parks, and if Brian did indeed kill her.

They had been around two months into their planned four-month cross-country road trip touring the US’ national parks before Gabby vanished sometime around August 27.

Brian quietly returned home to Florida alone on September 1, failing to alert police or Gabby’s family that she was missing.

Gabby was eventually reported missing by her mother in New York on September 11. That came after 10 days of allegedly being stonewalled by Brian and his parents about where her daughter was.

Brian then vanished himself on September 13, six days before Gabby's body was found.

Some of the answers may lie in a notebook and backpack found next to Brian's remains last month.

Authorities have not released any information about what the book or bag contained. It's also unclear whether they've located the firearm Laundrie used to kill himself.

Rahmani, like Wecht, suggested that the outcome of Brian's autopsy marked the end of law enforcement's months-long investigation into Gabby's death.

"This is the end of the criminal investigation because all signs point to Laundrie and law enforcement can’t prosecute a deceased person," he said.

"The Petito family will never receive the criminal justice that Gabby deserved, but hopefully they will take comfort in the fact that her likely murderer is no longer alive.”

Joyce, meanwhile, said that while Gabby's murder case will be closed, investigators still have a few "loose ends" to follow up on, such as gleaning clues from Laundrie's notebook.

"Gabby's murder will be closed with what's known as an exceptional clearance, or where the suspect and culprit is known but cannot be arrested - in this case, because he's dead."

Brian Laundrie autopsy result reveals Gabby Petito’s fiancé shot himself in head in suicide

Brian Laundrie timeline

Brian Laundrie has not been seen since the morning of September 13. Here is a timeline of Laundrie's latest whereabouts:

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