Brian Laundrie's Sister Details The Last Time She Saw Him
By Jason Hall
October 5, 2021
In an exclusive interview with ABC News, Cassie Laundrie said she last heard from her brother on September 6 -- after he returned from his cross country trip without Petito -- when the family went to Fort De Soto Park in Pinellas County, Florida.
"We just went for a couple of hours and we ate dinner and had s'mores around the campfire and left, and there was nothing peculiar about it," she said. "There was no feeling of grand goodbye. There was no nothing."
"I'm frustrated that, in hindsight, I didn't pick up on anything," she added. "It was just a regular visit."
Cassie added that it's unusual for Brian to disappear this long, having initially been reported missing on September 17, days after Petito's parents initially reported her missing.
"I worry about him. I hope he's OK, and then I'm angry and I don't know what to think," she said. "I hope my brother is alive because I want answers just as much as everybody else."
Cassie said she's cooperated with authorities during their investigation "since day one" and believes her parents should do the same, noting that she's unsure of their role.
"I don't know if my parents are involved," she said. "I think if they are, then they should come clean."
On September 30, police released additional bodycam footage which shows Petito telling an officer that an argument with Laundrie got physical.
The newer footage stems from the incident on August 12 in Moab, Utah in which police made contact with Petito -- whose remains were found on September 19 -- and Laundrie -- a person of interest in her death whose whereabouts are currently unknown.
A bystander called the Moab Police Department and reported seeing a man hitting a woman. Officers pulled over the van Laundrie and Petito were traveling in on their cross-country trip and Petito told officers that she intially slapped Laundrie before he retaliated.
"I guess, but I hit him first," Petito said when asked by an officer if Laundrie hit her in the face.
"Where did he hit you? Don’t worry. Just be honest," the officer asked.
"Well, he grabbed my face," Petito said.
"Did he slap your face? Or what?" the officer responded.
"Well like, yeah he grabbed me with his nail, and I guess that’s why I definitely have a cut right here because I can feel it when I touch it, it burns," she said, while holding her jaw and crying.
The video then shows Laundrie recanting his side of the incident.
"She gets really worked up, and when she does she swings, and she had her cellphone in her hand, so I was just trying to push her away," Laundrie said.
The new video adds to previously released bodycam footage showing the couple addressing the incident with police, which an officer described as a mental health crisis, not a domestic assault, according to a police report.
The city of Moab announced on September 28 an independent investigation will be conducted on officers' handling of the situation involving Petito and Laundrie.
Last month, an arrest warrant was issued for Laundrie after a grand jury indicited him for his "use of unauthorized devices" during the events following the death of Petito.
The indictment obtained by CNN accuses Laundrie of using a debit card and PIN number for accounts that didn't belong to him between August 30 to September 1 in order to make purchases totaling more than $1,000.
A source close to Laundrie's family told CNN the 23-year-old left his own wallet and cell phone behind when he was last seen leaving his parents' Florida home 10 days ago after he initially returned to the area from a cross-country road trip without Petito, who was reported missing on September 11.
The source added that Laundrie's parents were concerned he might harm himself at the time he left their home.
An attorney for Laundrie's family emphasized that the arrest warrant isn't related specifically to Petito's death, rather incidents committed by Laundrie afterward.
"It is my understanding that the arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie is related to activities occurring after the death of Gabby Petito and not related to her actual demise," Steve Bertolino said in a statement. "The FBI is focusing on locating Brian and when that occurs the specifics of the charges covered under the indictment will be addressed in the proper forum."
"While this warrant allows law enforcement to arrest Mr. Laundrie, the FBI and our partners across the country continue to investigate the facts and circumstances of Ms. Petito's homicide," added FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider. "We urge individuals with knowledge of Mr. Laundrie's role in this matter or his current whereabouts to contact the FBI."
On September 24, local and federal authorities continued to search for Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve, a nature preserve estimated to be around 25,000 acres, in North Port near his family home after pausing September 23 due to darkness.
Chapman said Laundrie showed "no evidence" of being suicidal and credited Laundrie's social media presence for his theory.
"If you go to his Instagram pages and look what kind of person he really is and the books that he reads and especially a very favorite book, that's not books for sucidal people," Chapman said.
On Sunday (October 3), Chapman tweeted a video update of himself wading through the Florida swamp waters in search for Laundrie.
"The search has continued throughout the weekend on the islands off the west coast of Florida," Chapman tweeted along with a video of himself and others wading through the Florida swamp waters.
On Friday (October 1), a representative for the bounty hunter told TMZ that Chapman, his wife Francie and their family are adding a $10,000 reward for any information that leads the group to capturing Laundrie.
The reward money for information pertaining to Laundrie's whereabouts was previously at $170,000 -- most of which was donated by private individuals supporting the Petito family -- prior to Champan's pledge.
On Wednesday (September 29), sources with knowledge of the situation told TMZ Champan was moving toward a remote site where Laundrie is believed to be hiding.
TMZ reported Chapman claimed he'd "be at the site in less than an hour" at the time of publication at 12:29 ET and the famed bounty hunter obtained information that would lead him to Laundrie, who was believed to be alive and moving around as of 10:00 p.m. Tuesday (September 28).
Chapman later shared a video update on his verified Twitter account from a Florida dock Wednesday afternoon, which he specified was from earlier in the morning, claiming "the search now is really on, the search has just begun."
"UPDATE: Video is from this morning — earlier today we launched an active and specific search in a key area based on the intelligence we are receiving and researching," Chapman tweeted. "Boat crews and ground teams have been called in and we have search and rescue dogs deployed. More to follow..."
Last week, Champan told FOX News he received a tip that Laundrie's parents spent the night with their son in Fort De Soto Park on multiple occasions from September 1-3 and September 6-8.
"They were registered, went through the gate. They’re on camera. They were here," he told Fox News exclusively on Monday evening. "We think at least if he’s not here right now, we are sure he was caught on camera as he went in the gate — that he was here for sure. Not over in the swamp."
However, the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office told FOX 35 Orlando that it has received no confirmed tips or signings of Laundrie in response to Chapman's claim.
Additionally, FOX News obtained police dispatch audio of Laundrie's mother, Roberta, calling the police on Chapman, who was spotted banging on the door of the North Port, Florida home where Laundrie and Petito lived on September 25.
“It’s a shame they wouldn’t speak with us. The police said we were welcome to knock on the door so we did. I wanted to tell the Laundries that our goal is to find Brian and bring him in alive,” Chapman told FOX News.
It's worth noting that Thinkfactory Media is shopping a new series starring Champan amid his recent insertion into the nationally publicized search for Laundrie, according to Variety.com.
Chapman famously starred in A&E's Dog the Bounty Hunter series for eight seasons, as well as the CMT series Dog and Beth: On the Hunt alongside his late wife, Beth Chapman, for two seasons.
The couple was also featured in the A&E special Dog and Beth: Fight of Their Lives, which chronicled Beth's cancer diagnosis in 2017.
Dog's most recently starred in the WGN America series Dog's Most Wanted, which aired in Fall 2019, while another series, Dog's Unleashed, was scheduled to air on the streaming service UnleashedTV before being scrapped, Variety reports.
Thinkfactory's latest pitch involving the bounty hunter is reported to chronicle Chapman's day-to-day life and exploits, which would likely include his recent involvement in the search for Laundrie.