KEY POINTS

  • Brian Laundrie was charged for illegally using Petito's card between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1
  • His attorney said his client flew back to Florida to "empty and close" a storage unit
  • Laundrie allegedly flew back to Utah to "rejoin" Petito on Aug. 23

Brian Laundrie stole Gabby Petito’s credit card and used it to travel to his parents’ home in Florida before he ran from authorities, the Petito family’s lawyer said Tuesday. 

On Sept. 23, the FBI issued an arrest warrant for Laundrie, charging him with one count of “use of unauthorized access devices” for illegally using a card to charge or withdraw more than $1,000 between Aug 30 and Sept. 1, according to The Hill. Police had earlier named Petito’s fiancé Laundrie as a person of interest in connection with what was then her disappearance.

At the time, neither authorities nor Petito’s family spokesperson confirmed whether the card belonged to 22-year-old Petito.

But during a 30-minute interview with Dr. Phil McGraw on Tuesday, Petito’s attorney and spokesperson Richard Stafford said that the credit card Laundrie used belonged to the victim and said he “stole” the card to “get home.”

"He used her credit card to get home and then ran from the police," Stafford said, adding: "That's going to show a lot what he was thinking back then."

"I don't know what story he's going to try to tell, but it's not going to make any sense when you put it together with his actions from that moment forward – that he's running, that he's hiding, that he's trying to deceive everybody around him.”

Attorney Steven Bertolino, a lawyer for the Laundrie family, has yet to comment over Brian’s use of Petito’s credit card. However, he claimed that Brian flew alone to Florida from Utah to “empty and close” a storage unit to save money for his cross-country van trip with Petito. 

"Brian flew home to obtain some items and empty and close the storage unit to save money as they contemplated extending the road trip," Bertolino said in a statement to News 4.

The Laundrie family’s lawyer also added that Brian flew to Tampa, Florida, from Salt Lake City on Aug. 17 and returned to Utah on Aug. 23 to “rejoin” Petito. The attorney’s timeline now puts Brian’s flight back to Florida just days after authorities pulled the couple over in Moab, Utah, over a report of a domestic dispute on Aug. 12, according to The Business Insider.

Investigators previously indicated that they believe Petito, a YouTuber, was killed in late August. Her body was discovered near the border of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Sept. 19, just 8 days after she was reported missing. Authorities have since ruled her death a homicide.  

Investigators have previously indicated that they believe Petito was killed in late August. Her body was discovered near the border of Grand Teton National Park on Sept. 19, just 8 days after she was reported missing.

As per authorities, Brian was last seen leaving his home in Florida on Sept. 14. His parents reported him missing three days later. A manhunt for him continues in several locations, including the Appalachian Trail near the border of North Carolina and Tennessee, as well as parts of Florida.

Dr. Phil interviews Gabby Petitos family Dr. Phil interviews Gabby Petitos family Photo: CBS