LAKEWOOD RANCH, Fla. — The lawyer for Brian Laundrie’s family told The Post on Tuesday that the fugitive flew home to Florida on Aug. 17 — a bombshell claim that throws a wrench in the timeline of the Gabby Petito case.
Laundrie family lawyer Steven Bertolino said Brian returned home for supplies and then flew back to Salt Lake City, Utah, on Aug. 23 to rejoin Petito.
Brian’s brief sojourn home would have come after the couple’s now-infamous fight in Utah that involved cops and before her body was found in a national forest last month.
“Brian flew home to obtain some items and empty and close the storage unit to save money as [he and Petito] contemplated extending the road trip,” Bertolino wrote in a text to The Post.
“To my knowledge, Brian and Gabby paid for the flights, as they were sharing expenses,” the lawyer said.
Cassie Laundrie Luycx, Laundrie’s sister, had claimed Monday that her 23-year-old brother was back at their parents’ home in North Port two weeks before authorities said he drove to the house in Petito’s white Ford Transit van without her, NewsNation said in a report.
Witnesses had reported spotting Brian and Petito at a Wyoming restaurant Aug. 27 — several days after Bertolino said Laundrie flew back out West. Aug. 27 was the last day Petito was seen alive.
Laundrie showed up at his parents’ home in Florida with her van Sept. 1 and went camping with his mom, dad and sister at the Fort De Soto campground until Sept. 7, the family’s lawyer said.
Laundrie was reported missing by his parents on Sept. 17. His parents told cops he went for a hike three days earlier and disappeared.
Petito’s body was found Sept. 19 at a remote campsite at the Teton-Bridger National Forest in Wyoming, with a coroner later declaring her death a homicide.
Laundrie, the sole person of interest in the case, is now the subject of a massive manhunt by the FBI.
The revelation that Laundrie flew home in mid-August suggests that Laundrie and Petito separated at some point after they were stopped by police in Moab, Utah, on Aug. 12 and questioned over reports of a domestic incident, and then reunited.
Cops in Moab did not file criminal charges against either Laundrie or Petito but separated them for the night, taking him to a local hotel and leaving her with her van.
Petito, 22, posted a photo on Instagram on Aug. 19 that appears to show Laundrie inside her van, but it is unknown when that photo was actually taken.
Petito last spoke to her mom Aug. 25. She was last seen with Laundrie two days later, at the Merry Piglet restaurant in Jackson Hole, Wyo., where witnesses said Laundrie got into an “aggressive” spat with the staff.