GABBY Petito sleuths have slammed the cops with brutal memes after officers confused Brian Laundrie with his mom on the night he vanished.
Police watching the Laundrie family home through secret surveillance cameras on September 13 thought they saw Brian, 23, pull up to the house in his Ford Mustang.
The Laundrie family had been under surveillance following the disappearance of Brian's fiancée, Gabby, who was reported missing on September 11 and later found dead on September 19.
Brian had returned home from a cross-country trip without her 10 days before the 22-year-old was reported missing.
Cops have now revealed they thought they had spotted Brian behind the wheel of the silver Mustang, when it was actually his mom, Roberta, wearing a baseball cap.
North Port Police Department Public Information Officer Josh Taylor told WINK News: "We thought that we had seen Brian initially come back into that home on that Wednesday. But we now know that that wasn't true.
"I believe it was his mom who was wearing a baseball cap… the individual getting out with a baseball cap, we thought was Brian."
Internet sleuths have now slammed the cops for the case-blowing blunder on the night when Brian was last seen alive.
One said: "Now even I can see that is a middle aged woman… they just saying anything at this point."
Another wrote: "I need a moment to get over this stupidity."
A third shared a pic of Brian's parents on a shopping trip with the caption: "Just a father son shopping trip."
In another post, a sleuth poked fun at the FBI and asked: "Brian sightings: who did it better?"
They shared an image of Brian with the caption "armchair detectives" and a picture of his mom with the caption "trained detectives".
Someone else shared a photo of detectives cheering, with the caption: "FBI tip lines now that they aren't getting calls on Brian sightings."
Following the discovery of Brian's remains in the Carlton Reserve, police are now speculating he was already dead when the mistake happened.
Taylor told WFLA: "There is a very good possibility that Brian was already deceased."
He blamed the Laundries for the blunder and called it "a direct result of a lack of cooperation from the family early on in this investigation".
Taylor told Telemundo 49: "The family brought the car back from the park and still did not report him missing.
"The area was difficult to keep an eye on with the growing activity. He was still not wanted for a crime at the time."
Police watching the property saw Brian leave on September 11 through hidden cameras, including one disguised as a trash can at a neighbor's house.
At the time, they said they could not keep him from leaving, as he was only wanted as a person of interest in the case of Gabby's murder.
Five weeks after he went missing, Brian's remains were discovered in Myakkahatchee Creek park and identified from his dental records.
Authorities also found a backpack and notebook believed to be Brian's nearby in an area of the park that was previously underwater.
After the autopsy of Brian's remains came back inconclusive, they will be shipped to a forensic anthropologist for further examination.
As the public waits for answers, the Laundrie family lawyer Steven Bertolino said Brian's parents, Chris and Roberta, do not know why their son fled after Gabby was reported missing – but said he seemed "out of sorts" when he left their home for the final time.
Bertolino also said Brian's parents are "not convinced" the remains are Brian's.
They admitted there's a "strong chance" they are his, Bertolino said, but they are "just waiting" for the identification results to come back.
Bertolino told CNN’s Chris Cuomo: "The probability is strong that it is Brian's remains, but we're going to wait for the forensic results to come in and verify that."
Experts have said the state of deterioration of Brian's body could make determining his cause of death impossible.
Tom Joyce, a retired NYPD commander, said: "If the remains are skeletal, that means the tissue has been pulled away from the bones," he said. "Most likely by alligators, crabs, fish and stuff like that.
"That's what it sounds like to me because it's definitely not long enough time for it to go naturally.
"If it's only a three to four week period and there are only skeletal remains and very limited tissue remaining, I would have to say there's a lot of activity that pulls all the skin and flesh and muscle and stuff away."
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