Brian Laundrie bought cellphone from Florida store days before disappearance, attorney confirms

Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito left for a cross-country trip together in mid-June. He returned on Sept. 1 without her

Florida fugitive Brian Laundrie's attorney has refuted a report that his client purchased a cellphone from an AT&T store in his hometown of North Port the day his parents claimed to have last seen him, Fox News has learned. 

TMZ reported that Laundrie was spotted "with an older woman" inside one of the cellphone stores in North Port, Florida, where he was living with his parents and his fiancée, Gabby Petito, on Sept. 14. Laundrie’s parents told authorities three days later that he left for the nearby T. Mabry Carlton Reserve on Sept. 14, but had not come home. 

But the Laundrie family's attorney, Steven Bertolio, confirmed Thursday that "a phone was purchased on September 4, 2021 and Brian opened an account with AT&T for that phone."

Bertolino added: Brian left that phone at home the day he went for a hike in the preserve on September 14, 2021 and the FBI now has that phone."

The FBI later visited the store and seized footage from the surveillance cameras, TMZ reported. 

Fox News Digital visited an AT&T store in North Port Monday, where an employee said they could not confirm or deny it was the store Brian was reportedly seen at. The employee said that all questions should be directed to corporate. Requests for comment to corporate have gone unanswered.

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Speaking to Fox News Digital on Wednesday, Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino said the Laundries had purchased a cellphone sometime after Brian returned, but said he did not know the date of the purchase. 

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Bertolino confirmed that Brian Laundrie left the phone behind when he was last seen on Sept. 14, and said he believed the FBI had the device.

When asked why the Laundries had purchased a new cellphone, Bertolino responded: "Sorry I can’t speculate." 

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A spokesperson for the FBI's Denver Field Office told Fox News she could not respond to questions regarding specifics of the ongoing investigation. 

Fox News' Sara Ballou and Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.