Well-known influencer under fire for peddling conspiracy Brian Laundrie still alive

‘This is in incredibly poor taste,’ say social media users on influencer’s post

Jade Bremner
Friday 29 October 2021 15:42 BST
TikTok influencer peddles conspiracy Brian Laundrie still alive
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Social media users are criticising Internet personality Tana Mongeau for spreading conspiracy theories about Brian Laundrie’s body being misidentified.

Twenty-two-year-old Miss Mongeau has a reasonable level of influence online, with  7 million followers on TikTok and around 5.5 million subscribers on YouTube. She initially posted on Friday on Twitter, “I know Brian Laundrie pulled a Joe Goldberg”, referencing the fictional psychopath protagonist in the hit Netflix tv show You who fakes his own death.

The initial post did not resonate well online, with other users calling her out for spreading false rumours. “Quit using someone’s crime/murder as a joke to get some likes on social media,” one person responded. “This is in incredibly poor taste,” said another.

Despite the backlash, Miss Mongeau doubled down on her theory in a TikTok video, which has now been viewed around 3.5 million times.

“I’m not joking. I genuinely think something was placed there so that people would think the remains were him,” she said on Tuesday.

Autopsy reports confirmed that Laundrie’s dental records matched those of the remains found on 20 October at the Carlton Reserve in Florida. Laundrie was deemed a person of interest in the case of Gabby Petito, whose body was found on 19 September after she went missing in late August. Petito was killed by manual strangulation, her death was ruled a homicide.

Miss Mongeau stated on her video that “news sources confirmed” the body found was not Laundrie’s, “I guarantee you he’s in like Paris, France right now living his best life getting a croissant,” she continued.

“Why were his remains found 24 hours after his parents started searching?” Miss Mongeau asks in the clip. “Because he is not dead.”

Her rumours are backed up by more rumours: “It is rumoured that the funeral, which two people would have attended, is going to be called off,” she said.

Fox News presenter Nancy Grace said on Sunday on a news segment that the circumstances of Laundrie’s death were “all very vague”. Laundrie’s initial autopsy report is inconclusive on his cause of death.

No DNA analysis has been conducted on the remains yet, but police have refuted “false reports” that the skeletal remains found in Florida did not match his DNA.

“The identity of the remains found at the Carlton Reserve on 20 October was confirmed by comparison to known dental records of Brian Laundrie,” said a North Port police department statement, released on Tuesday.

“Samples of the remains will be completed once the examination of the remains by the medical examiner’s office is complete.”

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