Brian Laundrie’s parents lied to authorities when they said their son returned home to Florida last week after the disappearance of his fiancee, Gabby Petito, according to former America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh.
Walsh accused Christopher Laundrie; his wife, Roberta Laundrie; and their attorney, Steven Bertolino, of staging a ‘ruse’ by refusing a police request to speak to Brian Laundrie last Tuesday when it was thought he had returned home.
DailyMail.com has reached out to Bertolino seeking comment on Walsh’s claims.
'Has anybody seen any confirmation that he was in that house?' Walsh asked during an appearance on Anderson Cooper's CNN primetime show on Tuesday.
John Walsh, the citizen crimefighter and former America's Most Wanted host, thinks Brian Laundrie's parents and their attorney lied about his whereabouts to police in order to buy him time so that he can escape
Walsh accused Christopher Laundrie (left); his wife, Roberta Laundrie (right); and their attorney, Steven Bertolino, of staging a ‘ruse’ by refusing a police request to speak to Brian Laundrie last Tuesday when it was thought he had returned home. The couple is seen above arriving at their North Port, Florida home last Wednesday
Brian Laundrie (left) is a person of interest in the disappearance and death of his fiancee, Gabby Petito (right), who was reported missing on September 11
'All this time, the FBI and the North Port police have been going on the word' of Laundrie’s parents and their lawyer 'that he's in the house,' according to Walsh.
'What if he came back with the van and was there for 10 days?' Walsh asked.
Petito was reported missing by her family on September 11. She and Brian Laundrie had set out for a cross-country 'van life' trip from her native Long Island on July 2.
The last time she communicated with her family was when she texted her mom 'No service in Yosemite' on August 30.
Walsh accused the Laundrie family attorney, Steven Bertolino (pictured), of helping to concoct a 'ruse' to help Brian Laundrie escape
On September 1, it is believed that Brian Laundrie returned to his home in North Port, Florida while driving the white Ford van registered to Petito. It was the same van that the couple traveled in during their trip.
Since Brian Laundrie was the last person to see Petito alive, he was declared a 'person of interest' in the investigation on September 15.
At the time, his lawyer advised Laundrie not to speak to authorities. On September 17, Laundrie's parents told police that they had not seen their son since three days earlier.
The next day, police start combing the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve just 13 miles from North Port.
Laundrie's parents told investigators they believe their son entered the area just days earlier.
Bertolino said the family went looking for Laundrie on Wednesday and found his silver Ford Mustang convertible at the reserve, which had a police note on it demanding that the vehicle be removed from the area.
The family initially left the car there so Laundrie could drive it back, but they returned on Thursday to retrieve it, he said.
Petito's remains were found in Grand Teton National Park on Sunday. A coroner confirmed her identity on Tuesday. The cause of death was homicide, according to the medical examiner.
Walsh told CNN that Brian Laundrie had ‘a great amount of time to prepare for an escape’ and to have ‘scrubbed the van’ before he became a focus of the investigation.
Bertolino's business page featured a photo of Petito on the page earlier Tuesday (seen above). It is not clear who posted them
Gabby Petito's family have sent a cease and desist letter to Brian Laundrie's lawyer after he used photos of their dead daughter on his business's Yelp page
A warning was also displayed on the Yelp page reading that it was now 'monitored by Yelp's Support team for content related to media reports' and that the site had 'temporarily disabled the posting of content' to the page
Brian Laundrie's neighbor has revealed that the 23-year-old mowed the lawn and went on family bike rides 'like nothing bothered him' after returning from the cross-country trip alone.
Charlene Guthrie, who lives across the street from the Laundrie family in North Port, Florida, told Fox News she saw Laundrie return to 'normal life' - all the while his girlfriend Gabby Petito was missing, possibly already dead.
'He mowed the lawn. Him and his mother went for a bicycle ride around the block,' Guthrie said.
'I mean, everything was just normal life once he came back.
'And I just can't get over the fact that they — it seemed like nothing bothered him. How can you do that?'
Laundrie returned to North Port without Petito in the couple's campervan on September 1. Authorities were then alerted to her disappearance on September 11.
Guthrie said the discovery of Petito's body and Laundrie's disappearance look 'really, really bad for him' and that she believes he 'should be a suspect.'
The neighbor also hit out at Laundrie's parents for not coming forward when their son went missing and that they 'let him go' in the first place.
'I have children, and I know that you do what you can to protect your child, but, you know, that can go so far, and you gotta do the right thing eventually. You have to,' Guthrie said.
'[The Laundries] should have absolutely come forward now. I mean, I just… can't believe they didn't do something. I'm really angry now that they… let this go.
'And that everything was so natural and they remained so normal through the whole thing, you know, while they were here, till he went on the run.'
He said that the assumption that Laundrie was missing in the reserve since September 14 - as his parents claim - was a ‘red herring’ and a ‘ruse.’
'My philosophy is, he never went to the swamp,' Walsh said.
'His parents and the lawyer … bought him four days to get out in front of this.'
Walsh slammed the North Port police for failing to put Brian Laundrie under surveillance and allowing him to go missing even after it became clear that he was a person of interest.
'How the hell did this boy get out of the house? I think the FBI and the Northport police have gotten a lot of questions to answer,' he said.
'How did he get out of that house and get away?'
Walsh said that he will discuss the Petito case in depth on his new show In Pursuit With John Walsh, which will air Wednesday night on Investigation Discovery.
‘It’s the public that will solve this case, and I believe the public will catch this guy,’ he said.
‘We need to see this creep brought in and pay for this.’
Earlier on Wednesday, Petito's family sent a cease and desist letter to Bertolino after his business's Yelp page used photos of their dead daughter.
Richard Benson Stafford, the attorney for the Petito family, is demanding Bertolino take down the photos by 2pm on Wednesday or face 'further action.'
The family initially tried to remove the photos themselves but were informed that only the business owner can add or remove photos, Stafford wrote in the letter dated September 22.
Bertolino has denied having control of the Yelp page and said any suggestion he would 'use this case to drum up any business' is 'disgusting'.
In the letter, Petito's family also demands Bertolino 'cease and desist posting pictures of Gabby Petito to any and all of your social media pages, web pages, or advertisements in an effort to gain business.'
'I am sure this will be taken care of by 2pm or I will take further action on behalf of Gabby's family,' it read.
Yelp is an online directory advertising local businesses where people can leave reviews and ratings.
Bertolino's business page featured a photo of Petito on the page earlier Tuesday.
As of 1pm ET, the only two photos on the webpage was a montage of two pictures of Laundrie and a screengrab of a short bio page.
A warning was also displayed on the Yelp page reading that it was now 'monitored by Yelp's Support team for content related to media reports' and that the site had 'temporarily disabled the posting of content' to the page.
Further details of who runs the page have not been shared. DailyMail.com has contacted Yelp and Bertolino for further information.
Bertolino hit back at the allegations he was using Petito to drum up business, telling ABC7 the suggestion is 'disgusting' and that he has not 'advertised or sought business in over 20 years.'
Petito's grieving uncle Steve Petito lashed out at Laundrie's attorney Steven Bertoloni in an Instagram post late Tuesday saying we 'don't require nor want you empathy' and accusing him of being 'as guilty and complicit with this massive cover-up'
Police divers joined the search for Brian Laundrie just before noon Wednesday with an airboat to join the manhunt for Brian Laundrie
A van from the Sarasota County Sheriff's Underwater Recovery Force, towing a small dingy, turned up about an hour after an airboat was seen for the first time at the 25,000-acre reserve
Laundrie's whereabouts are still unknown, with the manhunt entering its fourth day at a nature reserve in Florida (pictured)
Police and FBI agents resumed their search of the Carlton Reserve early Wednesday, sharing photos of search dogs (above)
'That's disgusting. Just so you know, my website and any review sites that I do not control have been overrun by John Q. Public,' he said.
'Indeed yelp actually shut the site down due to the inordinate amount of fake commenting on it.
'I have not advertised or sought business in over 20 years and I would certainly not use this case to drum up any business.'
It is not clear who originally posted the photos on the Yelp page or who later removed them.
DailyMail.com has reached out to both Bertolino and Yelp for further information.
The legal action was taken hours after Petito's grieving uncle Steve Petito lashed out at Laundrie's attorney in an Instagram post late Tuesday, saying we 'don't require nor want you empathy' and saying his attempt to show 'compassion' are 'beyond