Brian Laundrie: Who are missing boyfriend’s parents Christopher and Roberta Laundrie?

·6-min read
Brian Laundrie: Who are missing boyfriend’s parents Christopher and Roberta Laundrie?

Chris and Roberta Laundrie led authorities to personal items belonging to their son Brian in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on Wednesday, marking the most significant update in the hunt for their fugitive son since he disappeared in mid-August.

Human remains were found in the area later in the day, although no immediate confirmation of the identity was made.

Prior to the discovery, the parents had remained steadfastly silent amid intense public scrutiny as their son Brian became the subject of a nationwide FBI manhunt.

Follow all the latest on the Brian Laundrie search here.

They initially refused to speak to police, but later sat down for interviews with the FBI and released carefully-worded statements through their lawyer Steve Bertolino.

They offered their condolences after Gabby Petito’s remains were discovered in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming on 19 September, and said they did not know where their son was.

But Ms Petito’s parents consistently said they felt that the Laundrie family were withholding crucial information that could help them find Brian, and get the answers they were looking for.

Their home has been besieged by protesters with loudhailers, by media, and makeshift memorials to Ms Petito have been set up outside their home.

This week, Mr Bertolino said the Laundries were being “tortured” in their own home.

Chris, 62, and Roberta, 55, live in a normally quiet suburban neighbourhood in North Port, population 75,000, about 50 miles north of Fort Myers.

Like their son Brian, the couple have led a nomadic life; public records show Chris has lived all over New York state including Woodhaven, Bayport, Bohemia, Maspeth, Forest Hills and Sayville.

During Brian’s teenage years, they lived on Long Island, where he met Gabby Petito while attending Bayport-Blue Point High School.

A Laundrie neighbour confronts a protester on Wednesday evening (Fox News)
A Laundrie neighbour confronts a protester on Wednesday evening (Fox News)

From 2011 to 2020, Roberta was listed as working for the Suffolk County Government in an office position.

Chris Laundrie also lived in Hanaha, South Carolina, before moving to North Port in 2017, like millions of so-called snowbirds seeking the warmer climate of Florida.

Upon settling in North Port, Chris and Roberta established Juicer Services, a company that sells and services commercial juicing equipment. He is the president while Roberta is the vice president of the company, which is based in North Port.

The business is listed as “temporarily closed”.

Chris is affiliated with the Florida Democratic Party.

Gabby Petito moved in with the Laundries sometime in 2020. She lived under the Laundrie family roof, and it was there that the couple converted a Ford Transit van to travel around the USA on their ill-fated van-life trip.

When North Port Police showed up at the family home on 11 September, the Laundries appear to have been ready for them.

They refused to speak with authorities, who seized the young couple’s van, and handed over contact information for their lawyer Steve Bertolino.

Since then, the only public statements to come from the Chris and Roberta Laundrie have been through their lawyer.

“Chris and Roberta Laundrie do not know where Brian is. They are concerned about Brian and hope the FBI can locate him,” Mr Bertolino said last month.

According to Mr Bertolino, the family always maintained Mr Laundrie is in the Carlton Reserve, and have no other ideas as to where else he could or would go.

Laundrie’s sister, Cassie, said on 17 September, that she had not spoken to her brother since he returned from his trip.

Cassie Laundrie told ABC’s Good Morning America that she hopes Ms Petito will be found, in the first public interview given by a member of the Laundrie family.

“Obviously me and my family want Gabby to be found safe,” she said.

She later admitted she had seen Mr Laundrie after he returned to Florida, and claimed her words had been misconstrued.

On 16 October she told ABC News she was no longer speaking to her parents, and asked for her

Since 16 September, the Laundrie family home has been besieged by protesters who have staged daily demonstrations outside calling for Chris and Roberta to cooperate with the investigation into their son.

A camping trip taken by the Laundries in early September has also come under the microscope.

On 6 September, Brian and his parents travelled to the Fort De Soto Park and are believed to have spent two days at the campsite.

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie visited the Fort De Soto historical Fort in February (Instagram/GabbyPetito)
Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie visited the Fort De Soto historical Fort in February (Instagram/GabbyPetito)

The timing of this trip is significant, as it was around the time that Ms Petito’s mother Nichole Schmidt was desperately trying to reach Brian and Roberta to find out why communication with her daughter had suddenly stopped.

After that revelation, it was also discovered that the Laundries had initially given police the wrong date while reporting their son’s disappearance. They said the man disappeared on 14 September, but he actually set out for the Carlton Reserve on 13 September.

Ms Petito’s father has been particularly scathing in his public comments about the Laundries, and police have urged them to come forward with any information that could help find their son.

After Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman joined the search, he showed up at the North Port home, only for Roberta to call the police on him.

The Laundries have also been visited twice by the FBI, once during a thorough search of their home early in the investigation, and again more recently during which agents took a sample of some kind from the family’s trailer. The FBI loaded several vans with boxes of evidence collected at the family’s home.

In the weeks since the search for Mr Laundrie began, hundreds of concerned members of the public have also left flowers at a makeshift memorial at the home. Two visitors regularly brought megaphones to the house to scream challenges and insults at the family, and one particularly animated woman flew from Hershey, Pennsylvania, to scream at the home, which she said should be “burned to the ground.”

The protesters have caused such a disruption in the neighborhood that one of the family’s neighbor’s was arrested for the alleged battery of a demonstrator.

In early October, Chris Laundrie was asked to join the search for his son by accompanying members of the North Port Police and FBI into the Carlton Reserve. Nothing was found on the day he ventured into the swamp.

On October 20, Chris and Roberta Laundrie were called to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park when belongings, including clothes and a backpack believed to have been Brian Laundrie’s were found. Human remains were later found in the area, although no identity was immediately confirmed.

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