Brian Laundrie’s parents have said he was “very upset” before he left his home and his father felt helpless when he could not stop him from leaving, according to their family lawyer.
Recounting the moments before Laundrie left his house for Florida’s Carlton reserves, Steven Bertolino told NBC News that Laundrie’s father wished he “did not let him go”.
“Brian was very upset when he left and Chris conveyed to me several times that you know, he wish he did not let him go but he could not stop,” Mr Bertolino said.
This has been a painful saga for the parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, since 13 September, said the attorney. “But Brian is a grown man. He was 22 years old. He wanted to walk out the door, he was entitled to walk out the door.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) on Thursday confirmed that the human remains found at the Florida nature reserve were those of Laundrie, who was reported missing by his parents on 17 September.
Investigators confirmed the identification of Laundrie’s skeletal remains a day after they were discovered at the Carlton reserve near his backpack, notebook and items of clothing. Law enforcement officials carried out the identification using dental records.
#UPDATE: On October 21, 2021, a comparison of dental records confirmed that the human remains found at the T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park are those of Brian Laundrie. @FBITampa pic.twitter.com/ZnzbXiibTM
— FBI Denver (@FBIDenver) October 21, 2021
The recovery was made from a part of the park that was earlier submerged in water, making it completely inaccessible to the general public, Michael McPherson, chief of the FBI’s Tampa office, said on Wednesday.
The breakthrough came shortly after Laundrie’s parents joined law enforcement agencies to search Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, confirmed Mr Bertolino.
Laundrie was named by police as a person of interest in the disappearance of his fiance, Gabby Petito, a video blogger. A federal arrest warrant was also issued in Wyoming for his arrest, charging him with unauthorised use of a Capitol One bank debit card between 30 August and 1 September.
Petito and Laundrie had spent the summer travelling across the western US in her white van, regularly posting pictures and videos of their “van life” adventure on social media.
Petito’s parents reported her missing on 11 September, almost 10 days after Laundrie returned home without her. He then went missing himself, with his family saying they believed he had gone to the nature reserve, where his remains were eventually found.
Petito’s remains were discovered in a remote Wyoming national forest on 19 September, where they had last been seen together.