Brian Laundrie left his family’s Florida home to take a hike a day earlier than his parents had previously told authorities, their attorney said in a new report – as the fugitive’s dad was reportedly seen smiling with investigators during the manhunt.
Steven Bertolino, the Laundries’ lawyer, told CNN on Thursday that after discussions with the feds, “We now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday, September 13.”
His parents, Chris and Roberta, had previously told investigators their son left on Sept. 14 to take a hike in the Carlton Reserve.
Bertolino told CNN that Chris went to look for his son on the night of Sept. 13, adding that the couple returned to the area the following day, when they noticed an abandoned-vehicle citation on a Mustang that Brian had driven.
The parents returned on Sept. 15 to retrieve the car, according to CNN.
“The Laundries were basing the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events. Upon further communication with the FBI and confirmation of the Mustang being at the Laundrie residence on Wednesday, September 15, we now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday, September 13,” Bertolino told the network.
When asked whether the parents believe Laundrie is in the reserve or somewhere else, he lawyer said, “No, they don’t believe he’s in another area. They believe he is in the preserve.”
On Thursday, Chris 62, was seen in images obtained by the Daily Mail smiling with police as he joined authorities in their search for his son in the 25,000-acre reserve.
He left his home early in the day and arrived at the Myakkahtchee Creek Environmental Park next to the sprawling reserve, where authorities have been searching for Laundrie since Sept. 18.
“Chris was asked to point out any favorite trails or spots that Brian may have used in the preserve,” Bertolino told The Post in a text on Thursday.
The lawyer initially said late Wednesday that Chris had been asked to join the search — a claim North Port police denied Thursday. It was unclear if the dad was asked to assist by the FBI or another agency.
Meanwhile, it also has emerged that Laundrie had been under surveillance by North Port police at the time of his disappearance.
Police spokesman Josh Taylor told CNN on Thursday that his agency had been monitoring him after he returned to his family’s home on Sept. 1 following his ill-fated cross-country trip with Gabby Petito.
Authorities also never spoke to Laundrie before he disappeared from the home, according to the network.
The fugitive has not been charged in Petito’s death but is named on a federal arrest warrant for allegedly using her stolen bank card after she disappeared.
The 22-year-old Long Island native’s remains were recovered Sept. 19 in Wyoming. Her death has been ruled a homicide.
On Thursday, Taylor told The Post that a report that authorities had come upon remnants of a fresh campsite during the search for Laundrie was incorrect.
“Is it possible that they thought that there might be a campsite out there or something they may have seen from the air but when they go on the ground that’s not what it turned out to be?” he told CNN. “Sure, I think that’s a possibility.