At the request of Brian Laundrie’s family, New York State Police said on Monday night that a public funeral was to be held on Thursday for Gabby Petito, whose body was found on Friday near Mill Road in Riverhead. Laundrie had gone missing last week after leaving a night club in Flanders. Police initially said the case was a death investigation, but have since said that foul play is not suspected. One theory, according to a family member, is that Laundrie fell off a ladder after allegedly striking a tree during a camping trip.
I don’t want to be a coward. #BrianLaundrie is not alone. This neighborhood is not alone. We’re together and we’re hopeful for everyone’s safety, for everyone’s future. #Riverhead#LongIslandGabbyPetito #Mattituck A post shared by Carolynn Laundrie (@carolyndlaundrie) on Oct 7, 2018 at 2:01pm PDT
Police initially asked the public’s help in tracking down Laundrie. His family, as well as local officials, repeatedly pleaded for his safe return, and the county executive signed a $10,000 reward.
On Sunday, a post on Laundrie’s Facebook page directed at local law enforcement led some locals to believe that he may have become a sex trafficker. According to an official, police believe that’s unlikely.
Local police launched a search after a woman who was abducted from her home in the Riverhead section of Northampton, New York, in May told authorities that she had been forced into prostitution by a man who she identified as Brian Laundrie. Police said Laundrie was seen leaving her home before he vanished from the area of Mill Road, which cuts through Long Island. The man accused of using this moniker was described as 25 years old, approximately 5-foot-8, 160 pounds, of Caucasian or Hispanic descent, with short brown hair and brown eyes.
In an email sent to The New York Times, Laundrie’s sister, Cori, said that the Laundries believe she was being forced into prostitution by Laundrie, as well as the two men she says forced her into prostitution: a man who was providing shelter to her, and one who she says rented a home to her, where she lived. Cori wrote that the three men, in addition to Laundrie, worked together to purchase sex. Laundrie’s mother, Carolynn, is also involved in efforts to find her son. “I want to bring Brian home to my granddaughter,” she said.
Body of missing woman in Riverhead identified
Parents of missing woman have a bone to pick with website that surfaces her photo
Police suspect sex trafficking involvement in case of missing man in Riverhead