BRIAN Laundrie's father was hugged by a well-wisher who tailed him back to his home to tell him his son's death was a "tragedy" that they "could see from both sides."
The skeletal remains of Brian Laundrie were found in Florida's Myakkahatchee Creek Park on October 20 – just over a month after his fiance, Gabby Petito, was found strangled to death at a campsite in Wyoming.
An investigation remains ongoing into Brian's cause of death. He has never officially been named as a suspect in Gabby's murder but he was the sole person of interest in the case.
For weeks, the North Port home of his parents, Chris and Roberta, had been subject to a media frenzy and frequent protests with news crews parked out front around the clock and angry members of the public chanting at the foot of their driveway.
Since Brian's remains were found more than a month ago, the scene outside the Laundrie family home has returned to a state of relative normalcy; a shrine to Gabby erected by activists seeking justice for the slain vlogger is no longer on display, and news crews have since turned their attentions elsewhere.
But as questions continue to linger, the fascination in the case appears likely to remain for some.
In a bizarre video uploaded by a Youtuber couple who operate the account "From Bridgeport to North Port", the pair appeared to be driving aimlessly around North Port in search of Chris.
Uploaded on November 14, the vloggers are first seen driving past the Laundries' home, exclaiming: "the pickup's gone – to the reserve let's go, let's go, let's go!"
Before long, the couple finds themselves driving directly behind Laundrie's red pickup truck – which was pictured widely during coverage of Petito's murder – and struggle to contain their excitement.
"We're pulling up right behind them," a woman is heard saying. "Oh my God, we're right behind Chris Laundrie."
Seemingly aware that he's being followed, Chris pulls over to the side of the road, and the vloggers film his reaction as they drive past him.
The couple continues forward, overtaking Laundrie and driving past his home, before reversing when he pulls onto his driveway.
Chris gets out of his truck and stares at the couple with his arms raised up at his sides.
The male vlogger is heard telling Chris that he just "wanted to say I'm sorry for your loss".
As the man approaches Chris, he's heard saying "really?" and asking if it was necessary to follow him.
The man and Chris exchange words for several seconds as the female vlogger is heard telling her children to be quiet in the background.
The pair then hug, before Chris angrily points towards the camera and walks inside.
'THIS GUY'S CRUSHED'
"These people are dying," the man tells the woman as he gets back into the truck. "This guy's crushed."
When one of the children asks why he hugged Chris Laundrie, he responds: "Because that's the kind of guy daddy is."
Summarising his conversation with Chris, the man said he asked him "Do you mean that?" when he offered his condolences.
"I said, 'I do, I absolutely do,'" The man said. "I said, 'I'm a father of a son and I'm a father of little girls. I see both sides.
"'One minute I'm mad at you guys, the next minute my heart goes out to you … because it's a horrible thing, a horrible tragedy.
"'I said, 'I'm so sorry for you, I'm so sorry for your wife, I'm so sorry for your daughter.'"
Discussing their embrace, the man added: "I don't think anybody's hugged that man in a very, very, very long time."
The woman recording chimes in: "You should have asked him if he needs help searching.
"You are the only one in America that got him to talk," she then celebrates, "besides the police and the FBI."
The post on YouTube has since been inundated with messages from commenters congratulating the couple for showing "compassion" and "humanity at its best."
Others, however, questioned the couple's sincerity and voiced anger over the fact they followed Chris.
"I think if she wanted to be sincere you wouldn’t videoed it. He seems sincere and she is cold," one wrote.
"You tricked him and he caught you catching clickbait. Now he most likely feels duped and probably sadder, and his wife will be upset too," added a second.
No updates have been issued in the investigation into Brian Laundrie's cause of death for several weeks.
Coroners were unable to confirm a manner, time, or cause of death after an autopsy came back inconclusive. His remains were then handed to a forensic pathologist for further examination, where they remain.
In the meantime, sleuths have continued to accuse Chris and Roberta Laundrie of helping their son to escape police, even alleging – without evidence – that they planted evidence at the scene where his body was found.
Gabby's family, meanwhile, have continued to speak out about their heartbreak over the 22-year-old's death.
Her dad Joe Petito appeared on Dr. Oz last week alongside her mom, Nicole Schmidt, stepdad, Jim Schmidt, and stepmom, Tara Petito.
Joe Petito told the show that Brian had "all the hallmarks of an abusive relationship."
As Gabby's dad likened Brian to a typical domestic abuser, he said: "The way the abuser works is to shame the victim.
He added that when abuse victims are shamed, they're less likely to "go out and tell you what’s going on."
"And continually shame the victim to where they start believing that shame is theirs to hold."
But ultimately, the family said they didn't see any "red flags" in their daughter's relationship with Brian.
Even, Gabby's stepmom admitted to feeling disappointed that she couldn't tell of any abuse signs as she had been in an abusive relationship before her marriage to Joe.
The exclusive interview also touched on how Brian was able to "hide" his true self.
Specifically what happened between Gabby and Brian during their cross-country road trip is yet to be determined by investigators.
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, telling his parents he was going hiking in the Carlton Reserve. They described him as being "upset" and "out of sorts" when he left their home for the last time.
Six days later, on Sept. 19, Gabby's remains were found at a campsite near Grand Teton National Park.
A subsequent autopsy determined that she had been strangled to death by a "human force" around three to four weeks earlier.
A five-week nationwide search for Laundrie then ensued. While he wasn't named as a suspect in her death a warrant was issued for his arrest on allegations of bank fraud.
That search came to an end on October 20 after skeletal remains were found in Myakkahatchee Creek Park, which is adjacent to the Carlton Reserve, in Sarasota County, Florida.
Officials identified the remains as Laundrie's the following day.
The breakthrough in the investigation only came when Brian's parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, agreed to join police in a search of Myakkahatchee on Oct. 20.
Despite ground units, helicopters, cadaver dogs, and drones scouring the park for more than a month, it took Chris and Roberta less than 90 minutes to find a dry bag and another item belonging to Brian at the side of a trail.
The forensic pathologist now investigating Brian's remains is expected to return results in the coming weeks.
Brian Laundrie timeline
Brian Laundrie has not been seen since the morning of September 13. Here is a timeline of Laundrie’s latest whereabouts:
- July 2021: Brian Laundrie and his fiancé Gabby Petito leave for a grip across the country. The couple visit numerous national parks across the way.
- August 12: Police in Utah respond to an incident involving the couple. The bodycam footage is not released for another month but it shows a visibly upset Gabby talking to police after reports of a domestic violence incident outside a grocery store.
- August 24: Gabby is seen leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah, with Laundrie.
- September 1: Laundrie returns to his home in North Port, Florida without Gabby.
- September 6: Laundrie joins his family on a camping trip about 75 miles from their home in North Port.
- September 11: Gabby's family reports her missing.
- September 13: Laundrie leaves home to go hiking in Carlton Reserve, Florida. His family had initially said he departed on September 14, but revised their timeline weeks later.
- September 15: Laundrie is named a person of interest in the case of Gabby.
- September 16: Bodycam footage is released regarding the incident between Gabby and Laundrie.
- September 19: The FBI announces a body found at a Wyoming national park is believed to be that of Gabby's.
- September 23: The FBI issued a warrant for Laundrie's arrest claiming he "used unauthorized debit cards after Gabby Petito's death."
- September 26: A funeral is held for Gabby in New York.
- September 27: Dog the Bounty Hunter announces he will lend a hand and help search for Laundrie.
- September 28: Gabby's family held an emotional press conference as the search for Laundrie continued.
- October 5: Laundrie's sister, Cassie, appeared on Good Morning America and urged her brother to come forward.
- October 7: Laundrie's father, Chris Laundrie, assisted law enforcement in the search to find his son.
- October 12: Gabby's autopsy results were made public. Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue confirmed Gabby died by strangulation.
- October 20: Laundrie's personal items were found near the Myakkahatchee Creek Park trail in Florida. The medical examiner was called to the scene to investigate.
- October 21: Reports stated the human remains found in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park were bones.
- October 21: The FBI confirmed the remains found have been identified as Laundrie's.
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