Brian Laundrie 'Probably' Died by Suicide Before Search for Him Began, Fla. Sheriff Says

Authorities discovered Brian Laundrie's remains in a Florida park last month, ending a 32-day search involving multiple law enforcement agencies

A Florida police chief says that Brian Laundrie had "probably" already killed himself by the time authorities began searching for him.

Laundrie's remains were found in Florida's Carlton Reserve on October 20, ending a five-week search for the 23-year-old suspect in the death of his fiancé, Gabby Petito.

While the preliminary results of Laundrie's autopsy have been inconclusive, North Port, Fla., Police Chief Todd Garrison spoke out about the case at a community event on Friday night.

According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Garrison was a panelist at a law enforcement forum at the South County Tiger Bay Club on Friday night. He was asked by the moderator to discuss the case.

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Garrison discussed the mistakes in his agency's investigation — including the fact that during surveillance they once mistook Laundrie's mother, Roberta, for her son. "Yes, we made a mistake," he said "It was human error, but I still stand behind my team."

But then, Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman, whose agency assisted in the search for Laundrie, praised the performance of Garrison and his department, saying that they did the best they could under difficult circumstances.

Brian Laundrie
Brian Laundrie. Instagram

"We talked probably 20 times during that situation and obviously we supported them out in the preserve looking for Brian Laundrie," Hoffman said, according to the Herald-Tribune.

"That guy went out there and by all accounts probably committed suicide and he was right out there where we thought he was," Sheriff Hoffman added. "There was four feet of water out there at the time."

Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie
Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie. Find Gabby/Facebook

Laundrie was the subject of a nationwide search after the death of Petito, whose body was found in Wyoming in September. Authorities have said Petito died by strangulation, labeling her death a homicide. Laundrie was named a person of interest in Petito's case.

He was allegedly last seen on Sept. 13, when he left his parents' North Port home, saying he was going on a hike in the park in which his body was later found.

During the event, chief Garrison defended his department for the hard work they did.

"I can tell you one thing," Garrison said, according to the Herald-Tribune, "The amount of work that was done, behind the scenes, 24 hours a day, from our team and the FBI team working on the second floor of the police department, was phenomenal work."

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