The manhunt for Brian Laundrie is over. But several big questions remain

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Petito spent the summer traveling the American West with Laundry, sharing his journey on social media. The case first gained widespread attention after Petito’s family reported his disappearance on September 11.

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Laundry will soon disappear from his parents’ home in North Port, Florida, just days before Petito’s remains were found in a national forest in Wyoming.

Investigators had focused on locating the laundry until Wednesday, when it was finally found.


But there’s still a lot we don’t know.

Here’s what experts say about uncovering the truth surrounding their deaths:

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How did the laundry die?

Dental records confirmed that the remains found this week are Brian Laundry, the FBI announced Thursday.

But determining the cause of death can be challenging because officers have recovered “skeletal remains,” said retired FBI profiler Jim Clemente. He said it was possible that by the time he was missing, the laundry would have been dead.

“It’s not necessarily that,” Clemente told Granthshala’s Erin Burnett on Thursday. “But it does mean that it is going to be far more difficult to make a good, solid determination about the cause and manner of death.”

“Unless there is some sort of major, severe trauma to the skull that can be identified, there may be no way to determine how he died,” he said. “If he drowned, for example, there would be no evidence of it on the skeleton.”

The remains were found in an area of ​​the Carlton Reserve – a massive 25,000-acre nature preserve – that was previously under water but recently dried up due to clear weather.

Criminal defense attorney Mark O’Mara said the most reasonable explanation is that Laundry took his own life at the nature reserve — a possibility that Steven Bertolino, an attorney for Laundry’s parents, said Friday in an interview with ABC’s “Good Morning America.” addressed.

The lawyer said the lawyer and Laundry’s parents had discussed the possibility that Laundry died by suicide “multiple times”.

“We just don’t know. Of course, knowing his mental state when he walked out the door, it was always a concern,” said Bertolino, who described the laundry as “sad” in other interviews. .

Bertolino told the GMA that the family would accept the medical examiner’s decision if they came up with another explanation for the cause of death.

Dr. Priya Banerjee, a forensic pathologist, agrees investigators face a challenge in determining Laundry’s cause of death. However, investigators can use a notebook found near the laundry’s remains to gain some information about his death.

“Maybe diaries or other evidence can shed some light on what happened,” Banerjee said.

What happened when he was missing?

It is unclear how Laundry spent his time in the reserve or when exactly he died.

For a month, investigators trained their eyes on the Carlton Reserve, where laundry was believed to have gone when Petito’s family had left their parents’ home days after his disappearance was reported.

Florida Nature Reserve's marshy landscape made Brian Laundry's discovery treacherous

Searches through the reserve began on 18 September, a day after Laundry’s parents filed a missing report for Laundry, who they said had left the house a few days earlier and failed to return. Had been.

But the search proved difficult, with investigators working under unsanitary conditions. They were surrounded by the elements, passing through high water and trying to avoid dangerous wildlife. Things were so bad that existentialist experts doubted Laundry’s ability to survive and told Granthshala weeks earlier that he was no longer alive or in reserve.

North Port police officers block the entrance to Mykahatchy Creek Environmental Park on Wednesday, October 20, 2021 in North Port, Florida.
Questions also arise about when Laundry left his parents’ home and when law enforcement learned that his whereabouts were unknown.

The laundry family originally told police that he had left the house on Tuesday, September 14, but later changed his memories to say he had left the day before.

Bertolino told Granthshala’s Chris Cuomo on Wednesday He reported that the FBI had not returned laundry from hikes in the Carlton Reserve on the same day he visited.
Experts say timing and environmental factors complicating Brian Laundry's search

The FBI did not comment on the report, but North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor said his agency was not informed that the laundry did not return from the hike until Sept. He said in a statement that the police believed he was at home until the day the family agreed to speak to the police.

Even though the laundry left her parents’ home, Taylor on Thursday dismissed the idea that the items found in the reserve could have been put in recently, indicating they had been there for some time. .

What happened to Gabby Petito?

Chief among the questions that still remain unanswered are those about Petito’s fate.

What we do know is this: The remains, found on September 19 in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming, were identified as Petito’s, according to the FBI. The manner of death was ruled a homicide by Teton County Coroner Brent Blue, who said the cause of death was strangulation. He said he died about three to four weeks before his remains were found.

But according to Wyoming law, other details from the autopsy will not be released. Some details of Petito’s death are still shrouded in mystery: when did he die and what was the reason for his murder?

While the FBI described Laundry as a “person of interest” in Petito’s murder on Wednesday, he did not face charges in his death. However, he was accused of allegedly using two financial accounts that did not belong to him in the days following his murder.

A vehicle drives through Bridger-Teton National Forest just east of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Sunday, September 19, 2021.

Again, experts pointed to notebooks found near the laundry remains as a possible key to answering these questions.

“In terms of understanding the purpose of laundry, his feelings about Pettito, perhaps any notes or comments that we in Wyoming are still trying to decipher — that notebook could shed a lot of light on those issues.” Andrew McCabe, former deputy director of the FBI, said.

Retired FBI profiler Clemente echoed those comments, telling Granthshala, “If that notebook contains, for example, information that might have been entered, it could introduce flaws or rationalizations—all of that information in the determination.” can help.”

It is unclear whether the notebook will be useful. A dry bag officers located during their search on Wednesday were found outside it was apparently wet, a source with knowledge of the investigation told Granthshala, adding that it “could possibly be salvaged.”

“They are going to use whatever means possible to dry it before opening it,” the source said. “They’ll be very careful with that.”

Experts say a notebook found near Brian Laundry's remains may answer some important questions

The focus is also on Laundry’s parents and whether or not their son had told anything about them before Petito disappeared.

Petito’s family pleaded with the authorities after reporting her missing from the laundry. When police came to Laundry’s home on September 11 to speak to Laundry and his family, Laundry directed officers to his attorney, Taylor said.

On Friday, Bertolino told GMA that his clients had been cooperating with the FBI “from day one” after Brian’s disappearance, but added that he had “absolutely nothing to say” about Petito.

Asked in the interview if Laundry told his parents anything about Petito before he went to the reserve last month, Bertolino said, “That’s not something I can comment on right now. I just put it I want to leave it at that.”

Granthshala’s Christina Maxouris, Amir Vera, Eric Levenson, Christina Sguglia and Randy Kaye contributed to this report.


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