NEW YORK - Gabby Petito's family is demanding that Steven P. Bertolino, the Long Island lawyer who has been issuing statements on behalf of the Laundrie family, remove any photos he has posted of Gabby Petito on social media pages, websites, or advertisements "in an effort to gain business."
But Bertolino says he has nothing to do with the sites or photos in question and says it would be disgusting for him to have been using them.
Richard Benson Stafford sent a letter on behalf of the Petito and Schmidt family. The letter cited an image on a Yelp page for Bertolino's law firm. The page is unclaimed and Bertolino says his actual Yelp page was shut down on Tuesday due to "inordinate and unconfirmed" posts.
The letter gave Bertolino until 2 p.m. on Wednesday to remove any photos of her or he would face "further action on behalf of Gabby's family."
The photo was gone from the page before the 2 p.m. deadline. It was unclear who removed it.
"This is sad. I have never used social media or any other electronic platform for advertising other than maintaining a website," Bertolino said to FOX 5 News. "I do not control the internet sites nor the hacks and public that have been overrunning the internet with fake comments and posts."
Bertolino had released a statement on behalf of the Laundrie family earlier in the month when a search was underway for Petito saying that the "family is remaining in the background" and would have no further comment.
He later scheduled a news conference to release a statement from the family after Petito's body was found but later canceled it.
Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie were on a road trip when she went missing.
Laundrie returned to Florida without Petito in the converted camper van the couple had shared during their months-long road trip.
He has now been missing more than a week. Police in Florida have been searching a park where they thought he may have been headed. They are now using dive teams to search the waters in the park.