Gabby Petito's mom has slammed Brian Laundrie's lawyer, Steven Bertolino, after the attorney called Petito's strangulation death a "tragedy." Speaking to local news station WFLA, Petito's mom, Nichole Schmidt, said that Bertolino's "words are garbage." She then added, "Keep talking." Schmidt's comments came after Bertolino, who was hired by Landrie's family, made a statement regarding Landrie's connection to the investigation of Petito's death.
"Gabby Petito's death at such a young age is a tragedy," Bertolino said in a statement shared by ABC News affiliate ABC 7. "While Brian Laundrie is currently charged with the unauthorized use of a debit card belonging to Gabby, Brian is only considered a person of interest in relation to Gabby Petito's demise. At this time Brian is still missing and when he is located we will address the fraud charge pending against him."
“This was quick. This was not sitting here for five or six hours, trying to figure out how to conceal a crime..." Former prosecutor describes seeing Gabby Petito crime scene https://t.co/tNCV4CCkMs #GabbyPetito #BrianLaundrie #JusticeForGabby— Josh Benson (@WFLAJosh) October 13, 2021
Laundrie was reported missing by his family on Sept. 17. They told authorities that he left home on Sept. 14 but never returned. His disappearance came just days before Petito's body was found by authorities in Wyoming. Her family reported her missing on Sept. 11 after not hearing from her for nearly two weeks.
According to reports, Petito and Laundrie had set off on a cross-country trip in June. Near the end of August, Petito reportedly began to be less communicative with her loved ones. She allegedly sent one last text on Aug. 30, which her family questions the authenticity of, as they feel it may not have been sent by her. Laundrie returned home to North Port on Sept. 1 but reportedly was unwilling to cooperate with police on the investigation of Petito's disappearance.
Famed TV bounty hunter Duane "Dog the Bounty Hunter" Chapman eventually entered the search for Laundrie and has been updating his followers on social media. On Sept. 29, he posted on Instagram that he and his team "discovered a campsite and fresh Monster [energy drink] can deep in the woods while searching Shell Island off the coast of Florida for" Laundrie. It was also noted that "the Monster can showed no rust or faded colors," possibly indicating that whoever built the abandoned campsite had not been gone for long. At this time, Laundrie's whereabouts are unknown. Recent reports have indicated that there have been sightings of the missing man as far north as North Carolina.