Brian Laundrie: Parents say they hope cause of death verdict ‘brings closure to both families’

Chris and Roberta Laundrie been subject to months of scrutiny and protests outside their home over case

Oliver O'Connell
New York
Tuesday 23 November 2021 20:21
Brian Laundrie died by suicide, family attorney says

Brian Laundrie’s parents say they hope that the result of an examination into his cause of death brings closure to both their family and that of Gabby Petito, his fiancé who was murdered in August.

Family attorney Steven Bertolino announced that Mr Laundrie has died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

“Chris and Roberta Laundrie have been informed that the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head and the manner of death was suicide,” he said.

“Chris and Roberta are still mourning the loss of their son and are hopeful that these findings bring closure to both families.”

Laundrie’s remains were examined by a forensic anthropologist in Sarasota County to try to determine his cause of death after an autopsy failed to establish how he died.

He was reported missing on 17 September after telling his parents he was going hiking in the Carlton Reserve near their home in Florida.

Laundrie had returned home on 1 September from a months-long “van-life” trip across the US with Ms Petito, who had suddenly stopped communicating with her parents.

He was named as a person of interest on 15 September and her remains were discovered days later near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

After an exhaustive search and several reported sightings, Laundrie’s remains were discovered on 20 October in Myakkahatchee Creek, with his identity confirmed the following day.

His parents led authorities to the site where his remains were discovered.

As the case had unfolded, Laundrie’s parents had remained steadfastly silent amid intense public scrutiny as their son Brian became the subject of a nationwide FBI manhunt.

They had initially refused to speak to police, but later sat down for interviews with the FBI and released carefully-worded statements through their lawyer.

The Laundries offered their condolences after the remains of Ms Petito were discovered in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, and said they did not know where their son was.

But Ms Petito’s parents consistently said they felt that the Laundrie family were withholding crucial information that could help them find Brian, and get the answers they were looking for about the death of their daughter.

Since 16 September, the Laundries’ home has been besieged by protesters with loudhailers, by media, and makeshift memorials to Ms Petito have been set up outside their home. There were daily demonstrations outside calling for them to cooperate with the investigation.

The protesters have caused such a disruption in the neighborhood that one of the family’s neighbors was arrested for the alleged battery of a demonstrator following an altercation.

When Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman joined the search, he showed up at the home, only for Roberta to call the police on him.

Following the discovery of the human remains that were later confirmed to be their son, Mr Bertolino said the Laundries were being “tortured” in their own home.

No funeral was held for Brian with the family saying that they would grieve in private.

Chris, 62, and Roberta, 55, live in a normally quiet suburban neighbourhood in North Port, Florida, population 75,000, about 50 miles north of Fort Myers.

The family originally lived in several towns on Long Island,New York where Roberta worked for the Suffolk County government, and Brian met Gabby while at Bayport-Blue Point High School.

They moved to Nort Port in 2017 and started a company selling and servicing commercial juicing equipment.

In 2020 Gabby Petito moved in with them before she and Brian set off on their ill-fated van-life trip in a converted Ford Transit.

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