Police working to crack Gabby Petito's homicide case said that a mistaken identity during the search for fugitive Brian Laundrie, the FBI's prime person of interest in her disappearance and untimely death, explained why the man managed to vanish without detection.

North Port Police have confirmed on Monday that there were mishaps and lapses while they were monitoring Brian, 23, WJBK reported. The force said its officers mistook his mom Roberta for him the week he went missing.

According to Josh Taylor, the police spokesperson, police installed surveillance cameras around the Laundries' North Port home to monitor Brian's movement after Gabby, 22, was officially reported missing by her family.

On Sept. 13, Brian left in his Mustang. The same car would return to the home two days later with Roberta, in a baseball cap, driving the vehicle. Police said they initially thought it was Brian as he looked very much like his mom.

Taylor further noted the mother and her son were "kind of built similarly."

"I believe it was his mom who was wearing a baseball cap," Taylor explained to a CNN affiliate on Monday in an exclusive interview. "They had returned from the park with that Mustang. So, who does that? Right? Like, if you think your son's been missing since Tuesday, you’re going to bring his car back home."

Then two days after the mistaken sighting, North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison said in a press conference on Thursday, Sept. 16 that they had obtained information on Brian's whereabouts.

"Two people went on a trip, and one person returned," Garrison said at the time. "That person who returned isn’t providing information."

The next day, on Sept. 17, the family moved to report Brian's disappearance and claimed they had discovered his car abandoned at the Carlton Reserve on Wednesday, the day of the mistaken sighting.

Their statement alleging they drove the gray Mustang home would match the footage detectives obtained on Sept. 16 after confirming the person behind the wheel was Roberta and not Brian.

However, police clarified the misidentification did not have a major overall impact on their probe, according to KSN.

"Other than confusion, it likely changed nothing," Taylor said. "There is a very good possibility that Brian was already deceased. He still needed to be found."

"We just wanted people to better understand why we thought we knew Brian was in his home," he continued before pointing a finger at Brian's family for their silence. "It was a direct result of a lack of cooperation from the family early on this investigation."

Last week, Brian's partial remains, described by police as "skeletal," were recovered in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park area, which is connected to the Carlton Reserve, where he reportedly headed last month for a hike.

He had gone missing after returning home alone on a cross-country trip in the West with Petito, whose body was found in September after being abandoned for nearly a month in a Wyoming national forest.

In recent weeks, a coroner ruled she died by manual strangulation. Such revelation then intensified the search for Laundrie, who was wanted over the unauthorized use of Petito's debit cards during the period of her reported disappearance.

Petito and Laundrie
Petito was traveling from New York to Oregon in a white 2012 Ford Transit with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, 23, to explore the West together.  Gabby Petito/Instagram

© 2024 Latin Times. All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.