Could the Laundrie Family Face Charges for Staying Silent?
Could Brian Laundrie’s parents face obstruction charges for not telling police immediately about the handgun that went missing from their home just prior to their son’s disappearance?
In yet another twist in the tragic death of Gabby Petito, Steven Bertolino, attorney for Brian Laundrie’s family, has revealed that knowledge of a missing gun from the Laundrie family home was kept from the public.
A medical examiner has now revealed that Brian Laundrie died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head after he disappeared during the search for his fianceé, Gabby Petito.
Bertolino said at the time of Brian Laundrie’s disappearance, his parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, gave their guns to police on Sept. 17 while officers completed the missing persons paperwork. During the transfer, it was learned that a handgun was missing from its case.
“Both LE [Law Enforcment] and myself felt it was best for that information not to be public,” Bertolino said in a statement.
“Imagine, with the frenzied atmosphere at the time, if the public thought Brian had a gun!” he added. “I can’t speak to why LE did not reveal the info, but we spoke about it at the time, and I believe they felt as I did.”
Meanwhile, a former FBI agent thinks that this action, and perhaps others during the time of he was missing, could have Brian’s parents facing obstruction of justice charges.
A lawyer for the family of Gabby Petito also suggested possible charges for “additional individuals” in a statement shared earlier last week.
“The family was asked to not make any comments and let the FBI continue their investigation,” said Rick Stafford, the Petito family attorney. “The family was also asked to wait for the United States Attorney’s Office to make a determination on whether any additional individuals will be charged.”
Retired FBI agent Jennifer Coffindaffer believes it’s a possibility that Laundrie’s parents, Chris and Roberta, could face charges.
“I think the Laundries have possible culpability under 18 USC 3, which is accessory after the fact, and possibly 18 USC 1519, which is obstruction in terms of, if they tampered with any evidence after that crime was committed,” Coffindaffer said during a segment on NewsNation’s “Banfield.”
The attorney for the Laundrie family said when Brian’s parents first reported him missing, they turned over all of their guns, but one gun was missing.
Forensic scientist Larry Koblinsky also believes Laundrie family members could find themselves in legal trouble.
“I think they might be in trouble with respect to aiding and abetting Brian Laundrie evading detection, running away from the police,” Koblinsky said on “Banfield.”
“Somebody may have been helping him, most likely the parents, or it could have been somebody else that we don’t even know about,” Koblinksy said. “But again, the likelihood is that [Brian Laundrie] didn’t do this alone. He may have had assistance. And whoever did help him can be penalized, can suffer legal consequences for aiding and abetting his escape.”