Sheriff says police in Utah and Florida missed chances to take Brian Laundrie into custody
Search for Brian Laundrie widens
A Florida sheriff has criticised police for allowing Brian Laundrie to leave his parent’s home while his girlfriend Gabby Petito was missing.
Grady Judd, the sheriff of Polk County, weighed in on the North Port Police Department’s handling of the case during a press conference on Thursday.
He said while his office was not directly involved in the investigation, he could “speculate” based on information he had gleaned from news reports.
“I can tell you, at this sheriff’s office, when he showed up with her car and she was no place to be found, we would have never let him out of our custody that day,” Mr Judd said during a press conference on an undercover child porn operation.
“Other than that, I’m not sure where their investigation is.”
Mr Judd added that a 12 August incident in Moab, Utah, where police were called after receiving reports that Mr Laundrie had hit and slapped Ms Petito, was a clear case of domestic violence.
“I can tell you that according to Florida law, when she was the victim of domestic violence originally, he would’ve been arrested,” he said.
The Moab Police Department has come under intense scrutiny for its handling of the 911 call on 12 August.
Bodycam footage shows Ms Petito was visibly distraught as she told police officers she had been the main aggressor.
Moab police chief Bret Edge has taken a leave of absence and the police officer’s involved are under investigation.
Meanwhile, two FBI agents entered the Laundrie family home in North Port on Thursday afternoon.
The agents arrived at the home of Christopher and Roberta Laundrie at about 1:20pm, and briefly entered a camper parked in the driveway.
They left around 20 minutes later carrying a bag.
The Laundrie’s attorney said the officers had gone there to collect personal items belonging to Brian Laundrie to assist in the police dog unit’s search for the missing man.
Laundrie returned to his parent’s Florida home on 1 September without Ms Petito.
North Port Police seized their van on 11 September, but admitted they did not see Mr Laundrie when they attended the family home.
His parents say he left the home on 14 September to go for a hike in a nearby reserve, and was only reported missing three days later.