2:59 PM PDT, September 29, 2021
Mystery surrounds Brian Laundrie’s Labor Day trip with his parents to a popular campsite off the Florida coast, about 75 miles from their home in North Port.
It’s been confirmed the family went camping at Fort De Soto Park, one week before the family of Gabby Petito reported her missing, and questions are being raised about why the family went camping after Brian came home without his fiance.
A photo taken on Sept. 6 shows four friends on vacation, and a person behind them walking alone in the distance appears to resemble Brian.
Police were searching the campground’s five islands Wednesday. Inside Edition has confirmed that Brian and his parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, were staying at waterfront campsite #1 during the trip. The space was reserved from Sept. 6-8 by Roberta, records show.
Public speculation surrounds the camping trip, because Gabby was missing and her parents were desperately anxious to learn what happened to her. They say they pleaded to Brian’s family for information and got nothing.
TV’s “Dog the Bounty Hunter,” whose real name is Duane Chapman, had scathing words about the trip.
“If one of my kids came home and said ‘Dad, I just murdered my girlfriend,’ for me to say, ‘Well let’s go fishing and camping,’ — I mean there’s something absolutely wrong here,” Chapman said.
Brian Laundrie has not been charged or named a suspect in connection with Petito’s disappearance. Authorities have called him a person of interest in connection with the investigation.
The Laundries drove to the campsite in a red Dodge pickup truck and detachable camper. Both vehicles were visible in video of the Laundrie’s driveway.
Surveillance footage from the Fort De Soto area has reportedly been turned over to the FBI, according to several published reports, citing the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office.
Gabby and Brian stayed at the campground last February. Ironically, they posed for a photo behind bars at an abandoned fort. Gabby enjoyed the trip but posted on Instagram, “Raccoons stole all our marshmallows and hot dog buns!”
The Laundries’ attorney, Steve Bertolino said in a previous statement that his parents are “concerned about Brian and hope the FBI can locate him.” He said speculation the parents helped Brian evade police is “just wrong.”
Meanwhile, authorities in North Carolina say they received a half dozen tips that Brian has been hiding there in the state’s mountain region. But the sheriff’s department said the leads were “not fruitful.”