NORTH PORT, Fla. - Thursday brought an unusual twist in the search for Brian Laundrie, the sole person of interest in the Gabby Petito case.
He was seen going into the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park where authorities continue to look for his son.
The Laundrie's attorney said Chris joined the search to help investigators on the ground pinpoint Brian's favorite hangouts near the reserve.
Just before 10 o'clock Thursday, Brian Laundrie's father left his North Port home carrying a plastic bag, dressed in hiking shoes and hiking pants.
Just a short drive away, he could be seen on a John Deer golf cart as a North Port police officer drove him into the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park. They went over a bridge leading into the Carlton Reserve.
Sarasota County resident Joe Gallagher had the same question on his mind as many others: "My thing is, do you really think he’s out there after all this time?"
Gallagher was finishing his morning run on the Venice side of the Carlton Reserve when Christopher Laundrie arrived.
"Hopefully they can find something in there in the next week or so, but it’s just strange," he commented.
Through text messages, Chris Laundrie's attorney, Steven Bertolino said Chris was asked to show law enforcement trails and places where his son was known to frequent. He said Chris and his wife had provided those details to the FBI verbally, but it was thought that on-site assistance may be better.
"It’s interesting, it’s a little bit confusing. Always, in a case like this, whether it’s searching for a missing person or a suspect, initially you want to get the family involved," explained Ed Hartnett, the founder of Edumnud Hartnett Risk Management and a retired NYPD deputy chief with 32 years of law enforcement experience.
Hartnett says law enforcement would welcome the help, but would keep in mind that the Laundries did not help with the search for Gabby Petito, Brian’s fiancé who went missing and was later found dead after Brian returned to Florida from Wyoming, driving Gabby’s van.
"You can’t rule out the possibility that there may be legal proceedings against them down the road, if it can be proven later on that they aided and abetted their son in eluding the police in any way they could be facing criminal charges themselves," Hartnett said. "It’s not that they just want to find him and chat with him about the case. He’s a wanted suspect right now."
Christopher Laundrie left the park in his own vehicle just after 1:30 p.m., ignoring questions from reporters.
- Gabby Petito updates: Everything known about her disappearance
- Gabby Petito case: Timeline of 22-year-old woman's disappearance
- 'He's a coward': Gabby Petito's father believes Brian Laundrie is alive
- Gabby Petito's YouTube video posted while Brian Laundrie left her in Utah to fly home to Florida
- Brian Laundrie's survival skills are 'mediocre,' sister Cassie says
- Laundrie attorney confirms Brian left to hike preserve day earlier than parents previously claimed
- Brian Laundrie's mother called 911 on ‘Dog the Bounty Hunter’
- FBI confirms Gabby Petito's remains found in Wyoming; manner of death 'homicide'
- Gabby Petito investigation: 911 call reveals Brian Laundrie seen hitting, 'slapping' her before disappearance