- Oops!Something went wrong.Please try again later.
The attorney representing Brian Laundrie and his parents has lashed out at reality TV stars Duane Chapman – aka Dog the Bounty Hunter – and former America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh, claiming they're using the Gabby Petito case to fuel their “egos”.
Steven Bertolino made the comments to TMZ on Thursday after Mr Chapman tried to interview Mr Laundrie's sister, Cassie, and Mr Walsh posited a theory that Mr Laundrie had fled to Mexico.
“Dusty relics like that Dog and John Walsh need a tragic situation like this so they can clear the cobwebs off their names and give their publicity hungry egos some food,” he reportedly told the outlet.
Mr Walsh has been dead-set on blaming Mr Laundrie for Gabby Petito's death, despite the fact that he has not been charged in the case.
During a press conference with Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue on Tuesday, Mr Walsh twice tried to get the coroner to speculate on Mr Laundrie's involvement in the case. The doctor refused to speculate, saying that was beyond the scope of his duties as coroner.
The next day, Mr Walsh hosted a special focused on Ms Petito's death, during which he theorised that Mr Laundrie's father, Chris, drove him to the Mexican border.
“We’ve had over a thousand solid tips to the ‘In Pursuit’ hotline. Most of them are about my theory of his father driving him to the Mexican border and letting him go through Mexico. It’s a great time to be heading south, because [there are] thousands of refugees … I mean, he could walk across the border naked with his hair on fire, and nobody would notice him,” Mr Walsh said. “I think that’s maybe where he’s hiding — and somebody might be helping him.”
Mr Walsh provided no evidence outside of this “thousand solid tips” to back up his theory and appeared to be repeating overblown conservative media horror stories about the number of refugees at the US-Mexico border.
Mr Chapman joined the hunt several weeks ago, vowing he would find Mr Laundrie. After an initial solid tip provided by the former reality-TV star that led reporters and law enforcement to check out the campground at Fort DeSoto, Mr Chapman has turned up little evidence of Mr Laundrie's location.
Last week, Mr Chapman said he planned to leave the hunt to help nurse an injured ankle, but after news reports spread claiming he “quit” the search, he backed off that plan and said he was going to stay in Florida.
The bounty hunter's most recent public appearance was at the house of Mr Laundrie's sister, Cassie, where he knocked on the door several times, but left after no one answered.
Variety reported that Mr Chapman was shopping a new TV show around at the same time he was searching for Mr Laundrie, fuelling criticism that his involvement is little more than a publicity stunt.
Mr Chapman's own daughter, Cecily, called his involvement a public stunt.
“It's just a publicity stunt. That's really what it is,” she said. “I'm pretty sure everyone knows that this is a f****** publicity stunt.”