Brian Laundrie Died from Self-Inflicted Gunshot Wound, Family Attorney Says
Brian Laundrie died from a gunshot wound to the head, family attorney Steven Bertolino announced Tuesday. His death has been ruled a suicide.
The news comes nearly five weeks after partial human remains of the 23-year-old fugitive were discovered in Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park — near Laundrie's last known location.
An initial autopsy produced inconclusive results last month. The remains were transferred to an anthropologist for further analysis.
"Chris and Roberta are still mourning the loss of their son and are hopeful that these findings bring closure to both families," Bertolino tells PEOPLE in a statement.
Laundrie, 23, was named a person of interest in the disappearance of his fiancée, Gabby Petito, on Sept. 15.
The couple had spent the summer traveling across the country in a white van together, documenting their adventures on YouTube along the way — but on Sept. 1, Laundrie quietly returned to his parents' Florida home without Petito.
Ten days later, the 22-year-old woman's family reported her missing.
For the first week of Petito's missing persons investigation, the Laundrie family refused to cooperate with authorities, directing all questions to their attorney, police said.
A week after the Petito case began, the Laundrie family spoke to the FBI for the first time — but not to talk about Petito.
Instead, Laundrie's parents wanted to alert investigators that their son, too, had gone missing. They claimed he was last seen on Sept. 13, after allegedly leaving their home to hike in the nearby Carlton Reserve.
The FBI and local Florida authorities quickly launched a search for Laundrie in the 25,000-acre nature preserve, wading waist-deep through snake- and alligator-infested swamps in some areas. (The Carlton Reserve is connected to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, where his remains were found.)
While police were trying to locate Laundrie in Florida, separate search teams continued looking for Petito in Wyoming, where she was last seen.
Days later, even as his whereabouts remained unknown, the U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a warrant for Laundrie's arrest in relation to activities that occurred after Petito's death.
The FBI revealed that a federal grand jury charged him with using an unauthorized debit card with intent to fraud.
"While this warrant allows law enforcement to arrest Mr. Laundrie, the FBI and our partners across the country continue to investigate the facts and circumstances of Ms. Petito's homicide," FBI Denver wrote in a statement Sept. 23.
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"The FBI is focusing on locating Brian and when that occurs the specifics of the charges covered under the indictment will be addressed in the proper form," the statement read.
The discovery of Laundrie's body ended a 32-day search involving multiple law enforcement agencies.
Laundrie was never charged with Petito's death or disappearance, and a suspect for those crimes has not yet been named.