Laundrie family won’t hold funeral for Brian but plan meeting ‘to grieve’
The family of Brian Laundrie was meeting on Sunday “to grieve”, their lawyer told The Independent – but there are no plans to hold a funeral for the 23-year-old in the future.
Mr Laundrie was at the centre of an interstate manhunt before his remains were identified last week in a Florida swamp.
The Long Island native was wanted in connection with the death of his girlfriend, Gabby Petito – who had last been heard from at the end of August.
The young couple set off in July on a cross-country trip they were documenting on social media. An altercation between the two prompted a police callout in Utah the following month, and Ms Petito vanished soon after – though Mr Laundrie drove her van back to Florida without her.
He and his family refused to cooperate with police as Ms Petito’s family clamoured for answers. Then his parents reported Mr Laundrie missing – days before his girlfriend’s body was found 19 September in Wyoming near the last place she was seen.
The cause of death was ruled a homicide.
Ms Petito was laid to rest on Long Island, where she grew up – but the Laundries’ lawyer, Steve Bertolino, told The Independent on Sunday there would be no such public service for Mr Laundrie.
“The remains will be cremated and turned over to the family,” he said. “There’s no funeral plans at all.”
He said there was “nothing new” with the family other than their private mourning and “we’re not pursuing anything”.
The Laundries have been beset by protesters outside of their Florida home for weeks as the public demands answers in the death of Ms Petito. They have also found themselves at the centre of conspiracy theories surrounding the discovery of their son’s remains; he was identified with dental records after the remains were found in an area that had been repeatedly and thoroughly searched.
Ms Petito’s family has established a foundation in her name, with the first fundraiser scheduled earlier this month on Long Island. The foundation site sells ‘Justice for Gabby’ merchandise and tells the young victim’s story.
“The mission of the foundation is to address the needs of organizations that support locating missing persons and to provide aid to organizations that assist victims of domestic violence situations, through education, awareness, and prevention strategies,” the new website states. Ms Petito’s parents and step-parents are listed as board members.
“We wish to turn our personal tragedy into a positive,” the mission statement continues. “It is our hope that Gabby’s foundation will bring these important issues into the forefront of the public eye to the benefit of all our communities.”