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Brian Laundrie Died Of Gunshot To Head, Family’s Attorney Says

North Port, FL – The attorney representing Brian Laundrie’s family announced Tuesday that Laundrie was killed by a gunshot wound to the head.

His manner of death was a suicide, attorney Steven Bertolino confirmed, according to NBC News.

Laundrie’s remains were sent to a forensic anthropologist for further analysis after an autopsy came back inconclusive in mid-October.

North Port police described the remains as “skeletal” shortly after they were discovered at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on Oct. 20, NBC News reported.

They were identified as Laundrie’s remains using dental records, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said in a press release on Oct. 21.

Law enforcement officers wrapped up a monthlong search for Laundrie in the park and reopened the area to the public on Oct. 19, just one day before his remains were found, WFLA reported.

On the night of Oct. 19, Laundrie’s parents informed police they wanted to go back to the area themselves to look for him once again, WFLA reported.

Investigators accompanied the Laundries to the park the next morning and, after a “brief” search, came upon several “articles” that may belong to Laundrie, WFLA reported.

The skeletal remains were discovered near a backpack containing items belonged to Laundrie, according to the news outlet.

Laundrie, 23, disappeared in mid-September just days before the body of his missing 22-year-old fiancé, Gabby Petito, was discovered in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.

Her death has been ruled a homicide by manual strangulation.

Police named Laundrie as a person of interest in Petito’s homicide, but investigators have stopped short of labeling him as a suspect.

The U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a federal warrant for Laundrie’s arrest on Sept. 22 for use of unauthorized devices, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) Denver office announced in a press release.

But by then, Laundrie had disappeared.

During an interview on the Dr. Phil McGraw television show in October, Petito’s parents and step-parents said the warrant was the result of Laundrie stealing Petito’s bank card and using it “to get home and then [run] from the police,” WAGA reported.

The couple set off in Petito’s converted camper van in early July to tour U.S. national parks.

Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, said she last spoke with her daughter on Aug. 25.

Laundrie returned to his family’s North Port, Florida home in Petito’s van on Sept. 1, but she was not with him.

He refused to speak with police or Petito’s family about where he last saw her before he supposedly vanished while hiking in a Florida nature reserve on Sept. 14.

Laundrie’s parents claim they hadn’t spoken to him since then.

Petito’s body was discovered in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming on Sept. 19.

The 160-acre, heavily-wooded Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park area is adjacent to the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve, where Laundrie’s parents, Roberta and Christopher Laundrie, claimed their son disappeared while hiking, FOX News reported.

The couple initially told police Laundrie disappeared on Sept. 14, although they failed to report him as missing until Sept. 17.

They later changed their story after the North Port Police Department (NPPD) confirmed an officer had placed an abandoned vehicle notice on Laundrie’s car at the Carlton Reserve on Sept. 14, CNN reported.

The couple now claims their son actually left their house on Sept. 13 – one day earlier than the date they gave the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), WAGA reported.

“The Laundries were basing the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events,” Bertolino said in a statement. “Upon further communication with the FBI and confirmation of the Mustang being at the Laundrie residence on Wednesday, September 15, we now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday, September 13.”

Bertolino further claimed Christopher Laundrie went out searching for his son the night of Sept. 13 after he failed to return home, according to CNN.

The couple said they also picked up Brian Laundrie’s car from the nature reserve a day earlier than they previously reported, WAGA reported.

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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