The North Port Police Department said officers mistook Brian Laundrie for his mother the week he went missing.
North Port Police Department spokesman Josh Taylor said Monday evening that at the start of the case, as officers guarded the Laundrie house, they believed they saw Brian Laundrie return in the family Mustang on September 15.
It was actually his mother, Roberta Laundrie, in a baseball cap.
“We thought it was with him,” Taylor said. “But she was the one wearing a baseball cap, and they have a very similar construction.”
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According to Taylor, the NPPD monitored the house with field agents and other technological means. Taylor said that with all the commotion going on outside the house, it was just a mistake.
Brian Laundrie left the Mustang family home on September 13 for a hike in the Carlton Reservation, and he never returned.
On September 15, Laundrie’s parents found the Mustang at the Myakkahatchee
Environmental Park but decided to leave it there in case their son returns, according to their lawyer Steven Bertolino.
That same day, North Port Police Chief of Police Todd Garrison took to Twitter to ask Bertolino to set up a conversation with Brian Laundrie.
The next day the parents returned to pick up the car and Roberta Laundrie drove the car home. It was then that the police took her for her son.
The same day, the North Port Police Department held a press conference and Garrison said he knew Brian Laundrie’s whereabouts. Taylor now says Garrison made the comment based on monitoring the Mustang’s return home.
“We had no information that the family thought he was missing, it’s the truth,” Taylor said. “We would never have sent that tweet. We would never have made those comments publicly that we thought we knew where it was.
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Brian Laundrie’s timeline has continued to change throughout the investigation and still leaves questions.
Even with the mishaps, Taylor believes the outcome wouldn’t have changed much.
Authorities found the skeletal remains of Brian Laundrie, the only person of interest in strangling his fiancée Gabby Petito, last week in the woods of southern Sarasota County. He had been missing for five weeks.
“I don’t want to downplay it at all,” Taylor said. “But at the end of the day, I don’t know if that necessarily changes the results here.”