Brian Laundrie

Brian Laundrie Parents Leave Their Florida Home, Will Forgo Funeral: Lawyer

The FBI confirmed human remains found in Florida's Myakkahatachee Creek Environmental Park last week were those of Brian Laundrie, but no cause or manner of death has been determined

NBC Universal, Inc. The Sarasota County Medical Examiner’s Office was called to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in North Port, Fla., after items belonging to Brian Laundrie were discovered off a hiking trail.

What to Know

  • A medical examiner wasn't able to determine a cause or manner of death on Brian Laundrie's remains, which were found by his parents and the FBI in the same Florida park he was last said to have visited
  • Laundrie's parents found his belongings just one day after the environmental park at the center of the FBI search reopened to public
  • He was the FBI's only person of interest in Gabby Petito's death and disappearance; her case was ruled a homicide by manual strangulation. No other details on her autopsy have been provided

Brian Laundrie's parents have left their home in North Port, Florida, which has been flooded by supporters demanding justice for Gabby Petito in recent weeks, to mourn the loss of their 23-year-old son privately, the family's lawyer told News 4.

The parents are still in the state, attorney Steven Bertolino confirmed. They have also decided to forgo a funeral and cremate their son, the attorney added, though it's not clear when the latter might happen or where his remains might be laid.

Chris and Roberta Laundrie were the ones who stumbled upon Brian Laundrie's belongings, which led to the discovery of his remains, during a brief search of Myakkahatachee Creek Environmental Park a day after it reopened to the public last week. Dental records confirmed they were those of Laundrie, who remains the FBI's only person of interest in the disappearance and death of his 22-year-old fiancé. 

Bertolino said over the weekend that the medical examiner's office was unable to determine a cause or manner of death from the bones that were recovered. They had been submerged underwater for a period of time after he went missing and were sent to an anthropologist for further evaluation, the Laundrie attorney noted.

Last week's stunning development -- and discovery by the man's own parents -- marked a dramatic end to a manhunt that captivated the globe for more than month. And it appeared to leave many with more complex questions than answers.

Brian Laundrie likely never left the Florida nature preserve where he was last seen - and with the discovery of his remains earlier this week, it brings to an end a mystery that has captivated the country. But - even so, there are unanswered questions in the disappearance and death of Gabby Petito. This week, Pei-Sze Cheng revisits experts about the latest in the case and where they think we're headed next.

Top among them: How could Laundrie's parents find items in a "brief search," by their attorneys' own acknowledgement, that top federal investigators spent weeks looking for -- and on their first visit to the park? What's in the notebook that was found near a backpack near Laundrie's remains? Did Laundrie die by his own hand?

Did he say anything to his parents before he left for the preserve that Sept. 13 day, the last time he was seen? What happened on the couple's cross-country trip that led to Petito being strangled and left in a remote area of a Wyoming national park as Laundrie returned home? Will Petito's family ever get justice for their daughter?

The Petito family hasn't spoken publicly since learning Laundrie died in the same area where he was last said to have gone five-plus weeks before he was found.

Their attorney told News 4 last week they were "grieving the loss of their beautiful daughter" and would make a statement at the appropriate time and when they are emotionally prepared to do so.

The attorney for the Laundrie family has said the same on behalf of Brian's parents since his remains were recovered. They have only spoken through Bertolino, not directly to any press, since Petito's missing person report drew national interest.

Bertolino has asked the parents' privacy be respected as they grieve their own loss.

In a series of media interviews last week, though, Bertolino indicated the parents may -- or may not -- share more information in due time.

"I think everybody out there knows that whether the family or myself have some information to share, but there's not much we can say at this point in time," Bertolino told ABC late last week. "I've been quite clear when it comes to FBI we have absolutely nothing to say with respect to the Gabby Petito. With respect to Brian, we've been cooperating from day one. Those are two different scenarios." 

The FBI on Thursday identified human remains found in a Florida nature preserve as those of Brian Laundrie, a person of interest in the death of girlfriend Gabby Petito while the couple was on a cross-country road trip. NBC New York's Pei-Sze Cheng reports.

Petito's remains were recovered in Wyoming on Sept. 19, eight days after her mother reported her missing and six days after Laundrie vanished.

The county coroner who ruled her death a homicide said this month she had been strangled by someone's bare hands, and likely died three to four weeks before she was found.

That type of death is one of "the most intimate of homicides that can occur," forensic expert Joseph Scott Morgan told News 4's The Debrief podcast.

The coroner had said DNA was recovered from Petito's body, but declined to elaborate on to whom it belonged. He said he couldn't share further details of the autopsy report because of state protocol. It's not clear if the FBI might provide additional information on the findings at some point, given the case developments.


LISTEN TO THE PODCAST: WHAT GABBY PETITO'S AUTOPSY DETAILS COULD MEAN -- AND WHY 'THE VANISHED' TEAM THINKS THIS CASE STOOD OUT


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