Brian Laundrie’s father briefly emerged from his besieged home on Saturday to tear a protest sign from his lawn, multiple photos and videos show.
The sign, according to Fox News, had read, “What if it was Cassie?” – apparently in reference to Brian’s sister, Cassie Laundrie.
Chris and Roberta Laundrie have rarely left their home in North Port, Florida, since the news broke that their son’s fiancée, Gabby Petito, had gone missing. She was later found dead in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, where she and Brian had been traveling on a cross-country van trip. A coroner said the cause of death was strangulation.
Brian Laundrie remains a person of interest in the case, although he has not been charged with killing her. He has been charged, however, with fraudulently using Ms Petito’s debit card, and a warrant has been issued for his arrest. For the past month, police and the FBI have searched for him at the T Mabry Carlton Jr Memorial Reserve in Sarasota, but without any luck so far.
Through their lawyer, Steve Bertolino, the Laundries have denied that their son had anything to do with Ms Petito’s death.
“While Brian Laundrie is currently charged with the unauthorized use of a debit card belonging to Gabby, Brian is only considered a person of interest in relation to Gabby Petito’s demise,” Mr Bertolino said in a statement. “At this time Brian is still missing and when he is located we will address the pending fraud charge against him.”
As the search continues, protesters have swarmed the home of Mr Laundrie’s parents, who they accuse of not doing enough to cooperate with investigators or even of helping Mr Laundrie escape. Neither Chris nor Roberta Laundrie have been charged with a crime.
Protesters have picketed outside the house, shouted condemnations at the Laundries, and stuck signs on their lawn. One sign, perched just next to the one Chris Laundrie removed, features a large photo of Ms Petito with the caption, “Remember me?”
The banners don’t appear to have made a big impression on the family. The day after Ms Petito’s cause of death was announced, Chris Laundrie was seen mowing the grass around the signs.
On Sunday, protesters vowed that the siege would continue.
“You just devalued this block!” yelled one woman, who told Fox News she had travelled all the way from Hershey, Pennsylvania to be there. “I’m telling you, this is gonna keep on going!”
Another said through tears that she believed Ms Petito was a victim of domestic violence, and felt she could relate to her experience.
“I feel like I needed to be here for Gabby, basically because I know what she went through,” a woman from Minnesota told YouTuber Joseph Morris. “This girl was completely helpless. She was stuck ... And it hurts my heart, because I know how she was feeling. And I couldn’t just not do anything.”