Laundry’s lawyer said he bought a new phone three days after returning home in North Port
Steven Bertolino, an attorney for Brian Laundry, confirmed Thursday that the 23-year-old bought a new cellphone on September 4, three days after returning to Florida without his fiancée Gabby Pettito, whose remains were found in Wyoming on Sept. 19.
Bertolino said Laundry had left the new phone at home when he went for a hike on September 14 and never returned, but the lawyer said he was unsure what happened to Laundry’s old phone – he took his phone with him. Petito was on a cross-country road trip.
According to a witness, a domestic dispute between Laundry and Petito in Moab, Utah on August 12, began with a phone fight.
“They were talking aggressively [at] each other [and] Something definitely seemed wrong,” the witness wrote in a statement to the police. “At one time, they were fighting over a phone – I think the man took the woman’s phone. It looked like he didn’t want her in the white van.”
Brian Laundry manhunt: New phone bought after Gabby Petito’s disappearance
Later, after the couple is pulled over, Laundry tells officers that he does not have a phone, and fears that Pettito will leave them with no way to communicate.
“I was holding the keys because I didn’t want to go anywhere, and my big fear is – I don’t have my phone. I don’t have a phone. So if she leaves without me (inaudible), I’m on my own I am,” Laundry told the officers.
About 40 minutes later, as police were preparing to take Laundry to a hotel for the night, an officer asked him for his phone number and Laundry pulled his phone out of his pocket, but retrieved this part of the body camera footage. So it’s not clear what the laundry and officials are saying.
Five minutes after that, an officer asked Petito if she wanted to say anything to him before the laundry was parted, and he said, “Make sure he doesn’t forget the phone charger.”
Bertolino did not respond to a request for comment as to why Laundry initially told officials he did not have a cellphone during the August 12 incident.
The witness who reported the brawl told officers that he saw “a man hit a woman,” but when he responded the officers focused on Petito as the attacker.
The couple eventually left Moab and moved to Salt Lake City. Petito went missing in late August.
The Wyoming woman who hitchhiked Brian Laundry on August 29 told Granthshala News on Thursday that she didn’t see Brian using the phone “at all” during his ride.
Pettito’s remains found of wyoming Bridger-Teton National Forest on 19 September and his death was declared a homicide two days later.
Laundry Family Change De Soto Campground Reservations After Brian Returns Home, Docs Show
According to Bertolino, Laundry returned home to North Port, Florida on September 1 and bought a new phone on September 4.
“I can confirm that a phone was purchased on September 4, 2021 and that Brian opened an account with AT&T for that phone. (No burner.) Brian left the phone at home with The day he went to the Protectorate on Sept. 14, 2021, and the FBI now has that call,” Bertolino told Granthshala News on Thursday.
A federal arrest warrant was issued for Laundry on September 23 for alleged debit card fraud.
Law enforcement is searching for him at the nearby Carlton Reserve as well as the Fort De Soto Campground, about 75 miles north of the laundry home.
Granthshala News’ Michael Ruiz, Stephanie Pagones and Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.