Brian Laundrie Family Attorney Doesn't Have to Tell FBI If He Knows Where He Is

If Brian Laundrie's family attorney happens to know exactly where the runaway 23-year-old is, he wouldn't be bound by law to tell the FBI his client's whereabouts, according to Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg.

Laundrie, Gabby Petito's fiancé, is missing and has been named as a person of interest in her death. Petito was declared missing on September 11, 10 days after not returning from a cross-country tour of national parks with Laundrie.

Petito was last seen alive in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, on a cross-country road trip with Laundrie, on August 25. She was found dead in Grand Teton National Park on September 19, and officials have ruled that her death was a homicide.

News Nation interviewed Aronberg, who is also a former state senator, on Monday night.

A watcher dialed in and asked him if Laundrie's attorney happened to know where his client was hiding, would he have to legally tell the police.

"When it comes to affirmatively telling law enforcement where someone is, no one is required to do so," Aronberg said.

"Now, don't even think of it in terms of Brian's lawyer or not – no one is required to go to a police officer affirmatively to a police officer and say, 'Hey, I know where he is,'" he added.

"If you're asked by law enforcement and lie that's a crime. And lawyers, although they do have attorney-client privilege, there's still something called a crime fraud exception. So if the lawyer is helping Brian escape, if the lawyer is destroying evidence then that would be a crime and the lawyer could be charged with a crime.

"But no, the lawyer, even if he knows where Brian is, is under no obligation affirmatively to go to law enforcement and tell them."

Newsweek has contacted the Laundrie family attorney, Steven Bertolino, for comment.

Aronberg was asked by another caller whether it was unusual that Petito's remains were not yet released to their family and what does that say about the investigation?

The attorney responded: "I don't think we know whether the remains have been released to the family; I haven't seen that yet. But in general, once the tests and all the physical evidence is taken. then they release it to the family within 48 hours, at least that's what happens in Florida.

"Even when the cause of death is pending, even when the toxicology reports are outstanding, the body is generally released to the family within 48 hours after the evidence is removed and the tests are taken," he added.

Aronberg earlier this month said Laundrie was "extremely likely" to face more charges. As well as being a person of interest in Petito's homicide, Laundrie also has an active warrant out for his arrest on fraud charges for allegedly using someone's bank card and PIN around the time his fiancée disappeared.

Laundrie returned to his parent's house in North Fort, Florida, without Petito on September 1. He was declared missing on September 17. Laundrie's parents initially said they last saw their son on September 14, telling authorities at the time they believed he was heading to the Carlton Reserve nearby to hike or camp. They later changed that date to September 13.

Brian Laundrie
Body cam footage of Brian Laundrie from August 12. He was reported missing days before the discovery of his girlfriend Gabby Petito's body and a manhunt has focused on an inhospitable Florida wildlife reserve. Utah Police