THE case surrounding Brian Laundrie's death has captivated people across the US, however, seven questions remain after the fugitive's bones and notebook were found in a swamp.
Brian Laundrie, 23, was confirmed dead last month as human remains found at a Florida reserve on October 21 were identified as YouTuber Gabby Petito's fugitive fiance.
His remains were confirmed exactly one month after a body found in Wyoming was identified to be his 22-year-old fiance, Gabby.
Anyone following along with the aftermath of the shocking deaths are left to wonder how Brian died and if he killed Gabby, among a handful of other questions.
CAUSE OF DEATH
Following a weeks-long search through Myakkahatchee and the nearby Carlton Reserve for Brian, the fugitive's bones were found inside the alligator-infested parks, but questions still remain on how he died.
The location where Brian's remains were eventually found had previously been submerged in four feet of storm waters for more than a month.
The advanced state of decomposition that his remains were found in means that they were likely feasted on by gators and other local wildlife, as five weeks wouldn't be long enough for a body to decompose that much naturally, experts told The Sun.
A cause, manner, and date of death have not yet been determined for Brian after an autopsy came back inconclusive late last month.
His remains have been given to a forensic anthropologist to be inspected, and his cause of death is expected to be determined by the end of November.
And it's unknown if Brian's cause of death will be released to the public.
When asked what detectives should specifically be looking for, Tom Joyce, a retired homicide detective with the NYPD, told The Sun they may recover items potentially linked to Brian's cause of death.
"In my honest opinion, it’s most likely that Brian killed himself. But how did he?" he said.
Joyce continued: "Did he take a bunch of pills with him? What was found in those bags? Was there any vessels that he carried the contraband with him to kill? Did he slice his throat? Did he slice his wrists and bleed out?
"Did he commit suicide via firearms? In which case you would have a gun on the scene and cartridge cases.
"The water situation makes that problematic, so lower levels inside the park may help to uncover evidence that helps to answer one of the many questions still surrounding the case."
A backpack and notebook belonging to Brian were found by police near human remains at Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, near the Calton Reserve, that were later confirmed to be the 23-year-old.
The discovery was made shortly after Brian's dad, Chris Laundrie, found a white plastic bag containing some of his son's items in a patch of bushes next to a trail.
Brian was pictured with notebooks while traveling with Gabby.
The contents inside the notebook are not yet known, but internet sleuths appear convinced that the 23-year-old’s journal will provide clues into his fiancée’s disappearance and death.
Neama Rahmani, a former assistant US Attorney and the current president of West Coast Trial Lawyers, told The Sun the notebook and bag will be "crucial evidence" in helping to solve Gabby's murder.
"Law enforcement found a backpack and notebook, that’s key evidence. It’s certainly likely that those human remains they found belong to Brian Laundrie, unless he was trying to plant evidence next to someone else’s remains to throw law enforcement off his tracks," Rahmani said.
“If it's Brian Laundrie's remains, one of two things happened: He was either killed by an animal or a person or he killed himself. If he killed himself, it’s much more likely that he wrote something in the notebook about Gabby."
Meanwhile, Criminologist Casey Jordan said a notebook “pointed to the possibility” of a suicide note, 7News reports.
It's not known what's inside the notebook, but it hasn't stopped online sleuths from speculating.
Some amateur detectives think the journal may contain chilling drawings.
Web sleuths previously claimed to unearth a series of "demonic artworks" on Brian's social media, alleging the drawings could offer potential insight into Brian's state of mind.
A friend of Brian's told The Sun in an exclusive interview that the notebook could contain clues to solve Gabby's death, whom a medical coroner determined had died due to strangulation.
Meanwhile, it is also unknown why the Laundrie family went on a camping trip shortly after Brian returned home without his fiance.
The Laundries apparently went camping when their son returned with the van and without Gabby – but their family attorney Steven Bertolino told News Nation Now's Brian Entin he "didn't know" if Brian's sister Cassie was with her parents and brother on this trip.
Pinellas County records revealed that Laundrie's mom Roberta checked into a campsite at the park from September 6 to 8 – days before Gabby was reported missing by her family on the 11th.
"I talked to the police the second they called," Cassie told ABC. "I called them right back. We were in Orlando on vacation with my kids at Disney and we came back to this."
It is also unknown why the Laundries “didn’t return" Gabby's mom's texts as she desperately wanted to find her daughter.
Nichole Schmidt says she tried to communicate with Chris and Roberta Laundrie after she lost contact with Gabby in late August.
Gabby last spoke to her family on August 25 as she and her fiancé reached Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
During an interview with CBS' Dr. Phil, Nichole claimed Brian’s parents ignored the calls and texts, leaving her “infuriated."
It’s not known if the Laundries’ deliberately ignored the texts and calls.
Additionally, Brian's parents Chris and Roberta have been accused of "suspicious" behavior after they changed the timeline of their son's disappearance and refused to make a public plea for him to turn himself in.
Brian's parents reported him missing on September 17 after they claimed he told them he was going for a hike in the Carlton Reserve.
In the initial missing person's report, the couple said the last time they saw their son was on September 14.
However, they later changed their tune to say that Brian left for his trip on September 13.
Many are also left to wonder what went wrong in Gabby and Brian's relationship, as the pair seemed happy on social media.
However, Brian's Pinterest reveals doomed plans with his murdered fiancée Gabby — from a van life trip to wedding plans on the road.
The couple fantasized about their dream marriage plans and even thought about having a baby before their cross-country adventure ended in tragedy.
Just weeks before their shocking deaths, Moab police bodycam footage captured Gabby crying and complaining about her mental health and being instructed to spend one night apart from Brian.
It is also unknown what Brian told his family when he returned home without Gabby.
Brian's disappearance came two days after Gabby was first reported missing, and 12 days after he quietly returned home to Florida without her on September 1 – just two months into their planned four-month road trip across the US.
The 23-year-old offered no explanation about where Gabby was and refused to cooperate with police before absconding. His parents also didn't inform police of his disappearance until four days later, on September 17.
Gabby's remains were then found at a campsite near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on September 19.
The manner of Gabby's death was ruled a homicide and coroner's revealed on Tuesday that she had been strangled to death by "human force," which is otherwise referred to as throttling.
Lastly, Brian's parents have remained silent — prompting many to wonder why.
Brian's dad Chris remained silent as he installed a doorbell camera after two protesters approached his Florida home shouting “dirty Laundries" last month.
Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino spoke with CNN’s Chris Cuomo regarding the family’s silence.
Cuomo asked the reason behind the family’s decision not to speak with authorities or the Petito family to which Bertolino said he advised them not to.
“I can tell you the reason,” he said. “I told them not to.”
Cuomo then asked if the Laundries will “explain the situation” if and when Brian is found.
“It may come out in the future, it may not,” said Bertolino.
Brian Laundrie timeline
Brian Laundrie has not been seen since the morning of September 13. Here is a timeline of Laundrie’s latest whereabouts:
- July 2021: Brian Laundrie and his fiancé Gabby Petito leave for a grip across the country. The couple visit numerous national parks across the way.
- August 12: Police in Utah respond to an incident involving the couple. The bodycam footage is not released for another month but it shows a visibly upset Gabby talking to police after reports of a domestic violence incident outside a grocery store.
- August 24: Gabby is seen leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah, with Laundrie.
- September 1: Laundrie returns to his home in North Port, Florida without Gabby.
- September 6: Laundrie joins his family on a camping trip about 75 miles from their home in North Port.
- September 11: Gabby's family reports her missing.
- September 13: Laundrie leaves home to go hiking in Carlton Reserve, Florida. His family had initially said he departed on September 14, but revised their timeline weeks later.
- September 15: Laundrie is named a person of interest in the case of Gabby.
- September 16: Bodycam footage is released regarding the incident between Gabby and Laundrie.
- September 19: The FBI announces a body found at a Wyoming national park is believed to be that of Gabby's.
- September 23: The FBI issued a warrant for Laundrie's arrest claiming he "used unauthorized debit cards after Gabby Petito's death."
- September 26: A funeral is held for Gabby in New York.
- September 27: Dog the Bounty Hunter announces he will lend a hand and help search for Laundrie.
- September 28: Gabby's family held an emotional press conference as the search for Laundrie continued.
- October 5: Laundrie's sister, Cassie, appeared on Good Morning America and urged her brother to come forward.
- October 7: Laundrie's father, Chris Laundrie, assisted law enforcement in the search to find his son.
- October 12: Gabby's autopsy results were made public. Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue confirmed Gabby died by strangulation.
- October 20: Laundrie's personal items were found near the Myakkahatchee Creek Park trail in Florida. The medical examiner was called to the scene to investigate.
- October 21: Reports stated the human remains found in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park were bones.
- October 21: The FBI confirmed the remains found have been identified as Laundrie's.
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