Gabby Petito's Friends Say Brian Laundrie's Death Before Truth Is Known Is 'Worst Possible Outcome'

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

Friends of Gabby Petito's have been waiting for more than a month to get answers about the last days of her life — and fear that the discovery of Brian Laundrie's remains means they'll never know what happened.

"It's really the worst possible outcome," Petito's friend, Alyssa Chen, tells PEOPLE. "We will never know exactly what he did, and we'll never know why. We'll have questions for the rest of our lives."

During a Wednesday afternoon news conference, Michael McPherson of FBI Tampa announced that authorities had found human remains along with a backpack and notebook belonging to Laundrie in Florida's Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park. The following day, the remains were confirmed as Laundrie's.

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie
Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito. North Port Police Department/Facebook

Ben Matula, a high school friend of the couple's who believes Laundrie killed Petito, tells PEOPLE, "I wanted to see him answer for what he did to Gabby. I wanted him to face the music. But he made sure he would never have to answer one question or take any responsibility for what he did."

It's unclear whether Laundrie's death was accidental or a suicide. "If he killed himself, he took the coward's way out," says Matula. "It's not the result I wanted."

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Gabrielle Petito
Gabby Petito. Suffolk County Police Department

Laundrie was the subject of a nationwide search after the death of Petito, his 22-year-old fiancée. Her 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, Fla. home, saying he was going on a hike in the park in which his body was later found.

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With Laundrie's death, the mystery of the couple's last days deepens. "On one hand, it's closure," says Chen. "But on the other hand, now there will never be closure. We'll never know for sure what happened."

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