The Florida police chief whose service was supposed to be watching Brian Laundrie — who famously slipped through their fingers — blamed “human error” as the culprit.
North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison also said Laundrie likely killed himself in the alligator-infested Florida conservation area where he was found dead in October.
Laundrie, 23, was described as a person of interest in the disappearance and eventual murder of his girlfriend Gabby Petito, 22. But on Sept. 15, cops watching the Laundrie home thought he was slipping out but in reality, it was his mother.
“As a leader, what do I do?” Garrison said.
“No, people want open transparency and honesty from their law enforcement officials.”
He added: “Yes, we made a mistake. It was human error, but I still stand behind my team.”
However, Garrison told members of the South County Tiger Bay Club the screw-up had no impact on the outcome of the investigation.
“Now we know that, by the time we became the lead agency, Brian had already left the house and presumably had already been deceased out in the Carlton Reserve,” he said.
Petito was reported missing by her mother on Sept. 11.
Laundrie had already returned home from the couple’s cross-country van trip 10 days earlier.
The Long Island native’s body was found on Sept. 19 in a Wyoming campground. Laundrie’s body was found on Oct. 21 and so far cops are not saying how he died.
Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman, who took part in the manhunt, said Laundrie was likely dead soon after he vanished.
“That guy went out there and by all accounts probably committed suicide and he was right out there where we thought he was,” Hoffman said.
“There was four feet of water out there at the time.”