Gabby Petito Case: What If Brian Laundrie Is Never Found?


Damir Mujezinovic

Several law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), body hunters, and volunteers have been searching for Brian Laundrie for more than three weeks now, but there is absolutely no trace of him anywhere.

Laundrie went on a cross-country trip with his girlfriend Gabby Petito in July, but she never returned home. Laundrie vanished two days after Petito was reported missing, while her body was found last month in Wyoming's Grand Trenton National Park.

But what would happen if Laundrie is never found?

Will Search End Soon?

As The Independent reported, the authorities believe there is a 50-50 chance Laundrie is dead.

Though an avid outdoorsman, Laundrie has probably died by now, if he is indeed hiding out somewhere in nature, at least that's what the North Port police says.

The FBI has said that it cannot indefinitely task agents with searching for Laundrie, indicating that the search might end at some point in the near future.

What would this mean for the case? Would Laundrie still be charged with Petito's homicide?

Charges Against Laundrie

Laundrie has been charged with credit card fraud -- he reportedly used Petito's credit card after leaving her in Wyoming and allegedly after her death. A warrant for his arrest has been issued on the basis of this charge, but he is not accused of harming Petito in any way.

Some believe Laundrie escaped with the help of his parents, Chris and Roberta, but they have not faced charges either. In fact, even if they helped Laundrie escape, they cannot be prosecuted because they presumably helped him escape days before he was officially declared a wanted criminal.

Laundrie Trial

What if Laundrie is not found, would he stand trial?

According to The Independent, "Rule 43 of the Federal Rules of Criminal Procedure dictate that an individual who flees during the course of a trial can be tried and convicted in absentia."

However, Laundrie has not been arrested and he is not facing a court date, which means that he cannot be tried.

In fact, the 1993 Supreme Court ruling in Crosby v United States explicitly "prohibits the trial in absentia of a defendant who is not present at the beginning of trial."

Where Is Brian Laundrie?

[YouTube][Fox 13 News Utah]

If Laundrie is still alive, where is he?

As The Washington Examiner reported, a viral internet theory claims that Laundrie never left his North Port home.

Some TikTok users believe Laundrie is actually hiding in an underground bunker beneath his parents’ flower bed. The theory is based on drone footage, which appears to show a hand sticking out from the soil.

Some claim that the video shows "Roberta Laundrie grab something or give something to a hand that pops up from the dirt, leading them to suspect their fugitive son is hiding in a bunker beneath the backyard."