The family of Gabby Petito has been making the best of an unthinkable nightmare.
They are all in mourning, hoping for answers and for closure. They are also seeking justice for Gabby.
It seems that justice cannot happen until Brian Laundrie is found and arrested.
Right now, his federal charges are relatively minor. When he’s brought in, that is expected to change.
As we reported last month, there is a federal warrant for Brian Laundrie’s arrest.
At the moment, he is only facing simple, more easily proven charges related to Gabby’s disappearance and murder.
Specifically, Brian allegedly used her bank card over a period of two days, effectively stealing about $1,000 from his deceased fiancee.
Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg offered an opinion in a recent interview.
he told NewsNationNow that prosecutors in Sarasota County are taking their time, but not without reason.
He explained that they are “not rushing” to file more serious charges because of a number of procedural rules that they must follow.
Florida state law provides that all defendants are entitled to a speedy trial.
The moment that formal criminal charges are filed against “whoever” murdered Gabby Petito, the clock begins ticking.
In Florida, that means that the state has a mere 180 days to present their case at trial.
Prosecutors will want to make good use of all of the time that they have to gather evidence and build their case.
This means that they’re likely going to wait until Brian is actually found, captured, and arrested.
“I think it’s coming,” Aronsberg suggested of additional charges, calling that scenario “extremely likely.”
There are alternatives, of course.
Brian is likely facing a blend of both state and federal charges, assuming that this plays out as many expect.
Matters such as continuous jurisdiction, which departments have the most compelling evidence to press the most serious charges, and more may come into play.
All of that hinges upon Brian being found alive, however.
For obvious reasons, investigators are operating on the assumption that he is alive and that he is in hiding.
Though his federal charges make it clear that he is considered a flight risk if found, it is strongly suspected that he is hiding in the woods somewhere.
Brian is an avid outdoorsman, fond of being outside and capable of going weeks in the woods without returning to civilization.
It is that lifestyle that many fear made it easier for him to chronically abuse his fiancee out of sight of other humans.
Brian’s social media, which he no longer uses since becoming a fugitive, suggested that there were political, even paranoid leanings behind his lifestyle.
An alternative is that Brian might not be found at all, but could have taken his own life — or might eventually do so.
Many who mourn Gabby might be tempted to celebrate this, as the death of any evil person makes the world a better place.
But we need to remember that Gabby’s family needs and deserves answers and closure.
On the bright side, Gabby’s stepfather Jim Schmidt took to Twitter to share a hopeful message.
“You were sending us signs in Wyoming and continue to do so every day,” he wrote alongside a beautiful photo of a rainbow.
Jim’s tweet continued: “Open your mind and your eyes will see them.”
The landscape in the photo was of Grand Teton National Park, the same park where Gabby’s remains were found.
Some might call Jim’s observation misguided, or even blasphemous, but their beliefs aren’t what matters — Gabby’s loved ones matter right now.
We are all keeping them, and the thousands of missing persons who don’t get the kind of attention that Gabby received, in our thoughts.
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