Brian Laundrie’s lawyer said he does not ‘control the internet sites’ in a statement after Gabby Petito’s family sent a cease and desist letter following his business’s Yelp page using photos of their dead daughter.
Laundrie’s lawyer, Steven Bertolino, released a statement claiming he does not ‘control the internet site’ and agreed with the Petito family lawyer Richard Benson Stafford that ‘any such post he is referring to should be removed.’
Stafford demanded Bertolino take down the photos by 2pm Wednesday or face ‘further action’ in a letter dated today.
The image has since been taken down, but Bertolino has nothing to do with the page, and has angrily refuted criticism over the photos. Yelp lets users leave reviews of businesses, and creates a page for each new one that is reviewed.
A business owner can then ‘claim’ that page for themselves, in order to respond to reviews, and promote themselves, but Bertolino has not moved to do so, and says he has never advertised online.
‘I would certainly agree with Mr. Stafford that any such post he is referring to should be removed but advise him that I have no control over that Yelp site,’ he said in a statement.
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.
Angrily denying the Yelp claims Thursday, Bertolino said the suggestion he’d use photos of Petito and Brian to ‘drum up any business’ is ‘disgusting’.
A Yelp spokesperson confirmed to DailyMail.com that the photo of Petito was uploaded by a user – not by Bertolino.
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.
The family have yet to comment on news that Bertolino is not connected to the Yelp page.
Bertolino’s business page featured a photo of Petito on the page earlier Tuesday (left). It was later revealed a user posted the photo to the page and it has since been removed (right). Yelp. Photos can be uploaded by both the owner and users and can only be removed by the person who uploaded it
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
Steven Bertolino (pictured) has denied having control of the Yelp page and said any suggestion he would ‘use this case to drum up any business’ is ‘disgusting’
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.
The Yelp spokesperson said the user who uploaded the photo had taken it down.
‘We can confirm that the user who uploaded the photo removed it today. Yelp placed an Unusual Activity Alert, as part of our broader Consumer Alerts program, on the business’s Yelp page on Tuesday,’ they said.
‘Businesses and consumers can always report reviews and photos for removal if they believe the content violates Yelp’s Terms of Service or Content Guidelines.’
Both the business owner and website users can post photos onto a Yelp business page.
Under Yelp’s policies, if a business owner uploads an image onto their Yelp page, it can only be removed by the business owner or by Yelp.
Similarly, if the photo is uploaded by a user, only that same user or Yelp can take it down.
Because the image was posted by a user, Bertolino was not able to remove it from the business page.
It is also unlikely that Bertolino either set up the Yelp page or had any connection to it as the page is listed as ‘Unclaimed.’
Business listings can be created by Yelp following the posting of customer reviews and the business owner is then able to ‘claim’ the business to update business information and respond to reviews.
The ‘unclaimed’ tag reveals Bertolino has not done this.
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.’
‘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 earlier.
‘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.’
DailyMail.com has contacted Bertolino for further information and comment.
His Yelp page has been flooded with negative comments since taking the case.
‘You wanted to be famous, and you are. You are helping a murderer with his defense. May your karma own you. You are disgusting,’ one user wrote.
Another wrote: ‘Just as disgusting as Brian and the laundrie family. Just as guilty as the laundrie family. Where’d you send brian off to? Where did you advise his parents to send him to?’
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 mowed the lawn and went on family bike rides ‘like nothing bothered him’ after returning from cross-country trip alone, says neighbor
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.’
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 disgusting’.
Laundrie’s whereabouts are still unknown, with the manhunt entering its fourth day in Florida and law enforcement sources saying the 23-year-old boyfriend of Petito is the ‘prime suspect’ in her homicide.
Police and FBI agents resumed their search of the Carlton Reserve early Wednesday, sharing photos of search dogs heading out into the 25,000-acre swampland on social media. Dive teams were later spotted heading into the nature reserve around midday.
Bertoloni had released a statement Tuesday after a preliminary autopsy confirmed the body found Sunday in a campsite near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming belongs to 22-year-old Petito and that her manner of death was homicide.
‘May Gabby Rest In Peace,’ the attorney said in the statement.
Steve Petito took to social media Tuesday to blast Laundrie’s attorney accusing him of being ‘as guilty and complicit with this massive cover-up’
‘As far as the law is concerned this law firm may be immune due to attorney/client privilege,’ he wrote.
‘But in the eyes of the public you are as guilty and complicit with this massive cover-up and stalling tactic.’
He added: ‘We don’t require nor want you empathy. By you trying to show compassion here at this moment is beyond disgusting.’
Steve told Fox News Wednesday the Petito family will release a statement when her remains are returned to them from Wyoming.
The coroner is still carrying out tests on the 22-year-old’s body to determine her cause of death.
Police named Laundrie a ‘person of interest’ in his girlfriend’s disappearance last Wednesday.
At the time, the case was a missing person case with officials hopeful they would find the travel blogger alive.
Law enforcement sources told TMZ Laundrie is now their prime suspect in her death.
But prosecutors are said to be holding off from bringing charges or officially naming him a suspect until they can locate Laundrie.
Even then, this does not mean he will be charged with her murder.
The coroner ruled Petito’s manner of death homicide but the cause of death is yet to be determined.
‘Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue confirmed the remains are those of Gabrielle Venora Petito, date of birth March 19, 1999,’ FBI Denver tweeted Tuesday.
‘Coroner Blue’s initial determination for the manner of death is homicide.
‘The cause of death remains pending final autopsy results.’
In Colorado, homicide includes varying degrees of murder and manslaughter.
It is also unclear if Laundrie is even alive to face any possible charges.
His parents told law enforcement Friday they last saw him over a week ago last Tuesday when he left their home with a backpack and told them he was heading to the Carlton Reserve.
A North Port police spokesman said early Wednesday that searchers have ‘huddled up’ and headed out again to look for Laundrie in the vast, alligator-infested reserve.
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’
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.
When asked if police divers were recovering anything significant, North Port Police information chief Josh Taylor said: ‘We are looking. Nothing found. We have to work to rule it out though.’
‘Area resources are looking at large bodies of water, including dive teams, boats, and sonar equipment. At this time, this does not mean anything has been found. It’s a part of the overall search process,’ Taylor said.
‘Additionally, right now, NPPD is on scene of a possible self-inflicted death, roughly one mile from the Environmental Park. Nothing to do with this case.’
The terrain is particularly treacherous, with 80 miles of hiking trails and some sections nearly impassable to humans.
The Sarasota Police Department tweeted Wednesday that, despite rumors, Laundrie is not in custody and the search for him was continuing.
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 m Florida (pictured)
Police and FBI agents resumed their search of the Carlton Reserve early Wednesday, sharing photos of search dogs (above)
Search teams from multiple law enforcement agencies gathered Wednesday for a briefing before heading out into the 25,000-acre swampland
Search teams fan out at Carlton Reserve park near North Port, Florida, Wednesday as the manhunt for Laundrie continued
Agents with K-9s are seen in Wednesday’s search for the missing boyfriend of Gabby Petito – whose body was found Sunday
Buggies are being used in the search across the 25,000-acre swampland much of which is barely passable by humans
The search was called off for the night late Tuesday before agents from around eight different teams returned to continue with their efforts early Wednesday.
The search began on Saturday, starting at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park which is linked to the Carlton Reserve, a vast nature reserve about five miles from the North Port home Laundrie shared with his parents and Petito.
The search was then paused Monday when authorities said they had ‘exhausted all avenues’ before teams returned to the area Tuesday, where they focused their attention on the area closer to the city of Venice, along with adjoining lands.
On Tuesday, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis ordered all state agencies to assist federal and local law enforcement in the search, saying ‘we need justice for Gabby’.
More than 50 searchers from at least eight law enforcement agencies led by the FBI used huge swamp-busting amphibious vehicles, ATVs, bloodhounds, other K9s and drones to comb through the snake and alligator-infested swampland.
A memorial cross of stones is arranged at the spot believed to be the final resting place of Petito at the Spread Creek Dispersed Campsite, close to Grand Teton National Park
The undeveloped campground is popular with tourists though it has no water or trash service. Above, a sign points to the area
Gabby Petito, 22, is pictured with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, 23, in a YouTube video made to document their ‘van life’ trip
The pair had been travelling on a cross-country trip together since July 2, when they left New York. Petito was reported missing on September 11
The FBI is asking anyone who may have had contact with Petito or Laundrie, may have seen their vehicle or who visited the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in the Bridger-Teton National Forest between August 27 and 30 to contact authorities.
Several people have come forward with tips and to report seeing the couple’s van or Laundrie during this timeframe.
One witness said in a TikTok she believes she is the one that led the FBI to Petito’s body.
Sarasota Police Department said Laundrie is not in custody
Jessica Schultz said she told the FBI on September 16 she had spotted Laundrie near the Spread Creek campsite in Wyoming on August 26, 27 and possibly 28.
She said she and a group of friends were camped at Spread Creek from August 22 to 29 and noticed the couple’s campervan because it was trying to park, and blocking her way.
She said she very clearly recalled seeing a man alone – who she is ‘100 per cent certain’ was Laundrie.
‘It was just him, there was no Gabby,’ she said.
Schultz said agents told her ‘you guys are the ones that really tipped us off to the right place’.
Petito was last seen alive August 24 leaving a motel in Salt Lake City in Utah with Laundrie during the cross-country campervan trip that she and Laundrie had set out on back in early July.
She was then last heard from the next day when she called her mom Nicole Schmidt.
Laundrie arrived back in North Port alone on September 1 in their van and Petito was reported missing September 11 by her family.
Laundrie refused to cooperate with investigators or tell them when he had last seen his girlfriend and was named a person of interest in her disappearance last Wednesday – four days before a body was discovered.
Laundrie’s parents then made the stunning revelation Friday that he too had vanished and that they had not seen him since September 14 – when he allegedly left their home with a backpack saying he was heading to the reserve.
Their attorney 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.
A mural of Gabby Petito with wings was placed at Nicholls Road and Montauk Highway, in Blue Point, New York
Petito was originally from New York with her family saying they will release a statement when her body is returned there
A makeshift memorial for Gabby Petito is seen near North Port City Hall in North Port, Florida, where she used to live
On Monday, a dramatic FBI raid was executed on the Laundrie family home in North Port, Florida, and the Mustang was seized by authorities.
In seeking the search warrants, investigators cited an ‘odd’ text message sent from Petito’s phone to her mom on August 27, which set off alarm bells.
The text read: ‘Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls’.
‘Stan’ referred to Petito’s grandfather but Petito’s family insist she would not usually refer to him by his first name.
‘The reference to ‘Stan’ was referring to Gabby’s grandfather. But according to her mother, Gabby never calls him ‘Stan’. The mother was concerned that something was wrong with her daughter,’ the warrant states.
It added this was the ‘last communication anyone has with the subject. Her cell phone was no longer operational, and she stopped posting anything on social media about their trip. Per her family, this was not normal behavior for the subject and they became more worried about her.’
A second text from her phone on August 30 has also been questioned by the Petito family.
‘No service in Yosemite,’ the message read.
Cops in ATVs were seen heading into the 25,000 acre Carlton Reserve in Florida to search for Laundrie on Tuesday
More than 50 searchers from at least eight law enforcement agencies led by the FBI used huge swamp-busting amphibious vehicles, ATVs, bloodhounds, other K9s and drones
North Port Police shared these images showing officers sending drones operated by remote controls up in the air
Four ATVs were seen heading to the swampy area in this photo, as part of the huge search operation to try and find Laundrie
Petito’s computer was in her white Ford Transit campervan that the couple were traveling across the US in when Laundrie arrived back to Florida without her.
The vehicle was seized by North Port Police on September 11 – the day Petito was reported missing.
The couple are known to have gotten into a suspected ‘domestic abuse incident’ on August 12 – less than two weeks before Petito was last seen alive.
Police were called out to the incident involving the young couple in Moab, Utah.
Chilling 911 audio released Monday revealed how the caller reported seeing the ‘gentleman was slapping the girl’.
In the audio, obtained by DailyMail.com, the male caller tells a Grant County sheriff that a ‘gentleman’ in a white van with a Florida license plate had slapped a girl in the vehicle before driving away.
‘They just drove off. They’re going towards Main Street. They made a right onto Main Street from Moonflower. We drove by him, a gentleman was slapping the girl,’ the man continues.
A tearful Petito is seen in the back of the police car in Utah August 12 -13 days before she was last seen. Laundrie admits he ‘pushed her’ during the altercation and cops determine Petito was ‘the primary aggressor’
Laundrie is seen with scratches on his face which he tells an officer were caused when Petito ‘was trying to get the keys from me’ and ‘hit me with her phone’
‘He was slapping her?’ the sheriff asks.
‘Yes. And then we stopped. They ran down an up the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off,’ the man says.
Shortly after the call, Petito and Laundrie were filmed in police bodycam footage when they were stopped by Moab Police.
In the video, an emotional Petito with tears streaming down her face tells officers she ‘was trying to get him [Laundrie] to stop telling [her] to calm down’ and admitting the couple had ‘been fighting all morning.’
In the bodycam footage from Moab officers, Petito says she suffers from OCD and anxiety, with both her and Laundrie saying she was stressed because of the YouTube blog they were working on to document the doomed cross-country trip.
Laundrie is seen with scratches on his face and arm which he tells an officer were caused when Petito ‘was trying to get the keys from me’ and ‘hit me with her phone’.
When an officer asks Petito if her boyfriend hit her, she replies ‘I guess’ and makes a grabbing motion on her chin. Laundrie admits he ‘pushed her’ during the altercation.
Officers say that Petito was the ‘primary aggressor’ in the incident and separate them for the night.
‘Don’t try to find me. I have finally escaped my master’s clutches’: Brian Laundrie’s cryptic Pinterest posts
Gabby Petito’s missing boyfriend Brian Laundrie shared cryptic messages on Pinterest before his girlfriend’s death was declared a homicide.
A folder titled Things To Burn Off is filled with pictures of tattoos – most of them diabolical with images of demons, crypt keepers and more cynical quotes.
One tattoo read: ‘Do not attempt resuscitation (DNAR)’ in red ink surrounding a picture of a man performing CPR with a red ‘X’ through it.
‘Doctor, I want to die dignifiedly,’ it also said.
There was also an image of a woman with a tattoo across her back saying: ‘I’m the hero of this story. I don’t need to be saved.’
The obscure quote leaves a lot up to the imagination, including queries about whether Laundrie was trying to send a message.
Another post, titled The Opposite Of Lost, said: ‘Don’t try to find me. I have finally escaped my ‘master’s’ wicked clutches’ under an image of purple and pink clouds read.
‘To others I say: Join me. Bite the hand that feeds you. Vive la liberté,’ it added.
It appears to have originated from a missing dog flier in Oregon in 2006.
Other items Laundrie shared to a folder he called ‘My Heart’ are just as mystifying, and a photo he reposted of a pillow embroidered with the quote ‘sorry for what I said while we were trying to park the camper,’ cannot be missed.
Other posts include a line from the 1999 movie Fight Club that said: ‘It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything.’
A particularly disturbing post under the account @blaundrie1197 showed a headstone with ‘my baby’ inscribed on it.
The artwork, which was designed by Sacha Strange, also read: ‘She’ll never find a sweet man like me. Let her go, let her go, God bless her, wherever she may be.’
Gabby Petito’s missing boyfriend Brian Laundrie shared cryptic messages on Pinterest a month before his girlfriend’s death was declared a homicide. The post – titled The Opposite Of Lost – appears to have originated from a missing dog flier in Oregon in 2006
A photo he reposted of a pillow embroidered with the quote ‘sorry for what I said while we were trying to park the camper,’ cannot be missed
Other items Laundrie shared to a folder he called My Heart are just as mystifying, including a quote from the 1999 movie Fight Club that said: ‘It’s only after we’ve lost everything that we’re free to do anything’
A particularly disturbing post showed a headstone with ‘my baby’ inscribed on it. The artwork, which was designed by Sacha Strange, also read: ‘She’ll never find a sweet man like me. Let her go, let her go, God bless her, wherever she may be’
Brian Laundrie (pictured) arrived home early from the campervan trip – on September 1 – without Gabby Petito. She was reported missing on September 11 and Laundrie went missing himself on September 14
Another posts features a skull and a hand holding what appears to be a match with accompanying text that reads: ‘You do it yourself, and that’s what really hurts.’
And another mentions the phenomenon nyctophilia, ‘a love of darkness or night; finding relaxation or comfort in the darkness’ while another asks: ‘Am I okay?’
According to The Sun Laundrie shared the account with Petito and his mother Roberta. It’s unknown when exactly the cryptic images were posted or if Laundrie himself was behind it.
However, the account was last used five weeks ago and the latest post is a drawing of a matchbox that reads: ‘Burnt out.’
The post cites the book Burnt Out: How To Cope With Autistic Burnout in a folder he named Bleak, as reported by The Post.
A summary of the book said that ‘burnout leaves us feeling weak and exhausted’.
It added: ‘Autistic burnout is when autistic people can’t do things they used to because of how little energy they have left. It takes a whole lot more energy to function whilst being autistic and do basic tasks such as remembering to eat or doing laundry.’
Meanwhile, a folder called Life Goals is filled with much less obscure messages and contains a host of wedding inspiration-type images.
There’s a slew of photos with wedding dresses, table settings and even tips on making your own invitations and table settings. The couple were engaged.
Another posts features a skull and a hand holding what appears to be a match with accompanying text that reads: ‘You do it yourself, and that’s what really hurts’
It’s unknown when exactly Laundrie reposted the cryptic images to his Pinterest account but they are certainly plentiful. One mentions the phenomenon nyctophilia, ‘a love of darkness or night; finding relaxation or comfort in the darkness’ while another asks: ‘Am I okay?’
Meanwhile, a folder called Life Goals (pictured) is filled with much less obscure messages and contains a host of wedding inspiration-type images. There’s a slew of photos with wedding dresses, table settings and even tips on making your own invitations and table settings