North Port police admit to mistakes in Brian Laundrie investigation

Reporter: Erika Jackson Writer: Drew Hill
Published: Updated:
brian laundrie
Credit: Gabby Petito’s instagram

North Port police told WINK News on Monday that investigators made mistakes in Brian Laundrie’s case. The North Port Police Department says they thought they were keeping a close eye on Brian before he went missing.

North Port PD had cameras set up around the Laundrie family home but that strategy was not successful. Those who were watching the Laundrie house saw Brian leave in his grey Mustang. They then thought they saw him return days later, but they had mixed up Brian and his mom.

This mistake cost taxpayers quite a bit of money and cost law enforcement a great deal of time, energy and manpower.

North Port police believe Brian Laundrie looks very much like his mother, Roberta.

“They’re kind of built similarly,” said Josh Taylor, NPPD public information officer.

Taylor says North Port police began tracking Brian after his fiance’s, Gabby Petito, family reported her missing in the State of New York. They reported her missing on Saturday, September 11.

Police then watched him leave in his Mustang on Monday, September 13 and he returned on Wednesday, September 15.

“All I’m going to say is we know where Brian Laundrie is at,” said North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison. Garrison made this comment on Thursday, Sept. 16. NPPD was confident that Brian was inside his home. Everything changed the next day, Friday, Sept. 17.

“When the family reported him [missing] on Friday. That was certainly news to us that they had not seen him,” Taylor said. “We thought that we seen Brian initially come back into that home on that Wednesday. But we now know that that wasn’t true.”

Chris and Roberta, Brian’s parents, told investigators that they hadn’t seen their son since Tuesday. Later, the family changed that date to Monday.

So who did investigators actually see? “I believe it was his mom who was wearing a baseball cap,” Taylor said.

“They had returned from the park with that Mustang. So who does that? Right? Like, if you think your son’s missing since Tuesday, you’re going to bring his car back to the home. So it didn’t make sense that anyone would do that if he wasn’t there. So the individual getting out with a baseball cap we thought was Brian,” said Taylor.

Now, Taylor admits the North Port Police Department made a costly mistake. “No case is perfect,” Taylor said.

No matter who was driving the Mustang back to the Laundrie house, NPPD had no idea where Brian went when he left his parents house on September 13. And, now, we know that he went to Carlton Reserve and likely, never left again. Police found the car at the reserve the very next day, which was a Tuesday.

His mother returned the car to the home on Wednesday. As for the family’s infamous red pickup truck, it has since left the home as well. Chris and Roberta left to mourn the loss of their son.

The attorney for the Laundrie family, Steven Bertolino, says that Brian’s parents are grieving in an undisclosed location. So far, they don’t have a formal funeral plan for Brian. Instead, once his remains are released from the medical examiner, the family plans to cremate him.

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