Brian Laundrie died by suicide, his family lawyer confirms

Brian Laundrie speaks to police after he and girlfriend Gabby Petito were pulled over in Arches National Park, Utah, on Aug. 12, 2021. Moab Police

Brian Laundrie died by suicide from a gunshot wound to the head, a lawyer for the Laundrie family confirmed Tuesday.

Laundrie was a person of interest in the homicide of his fiancée, 22-year-old Gabby Petito, whose remains were found in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest in mid-September. A medical examiner confirmed that Petito died from strangulation.

After Petito’s remains were found, a weeks-long, nationwide manhunt ensued for Laundrie, which ended when his remains were found along a trail in the swampy Florida wilderness on Oct. 21. However, the initial coroner’s report was inconclusive.

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On Tuesday, Steven Bertolino, the lawyer for Laundrie’s parents, told The Guardian that the family had received a well-detailed report from a forensic anthropologist.

“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,” Bertolino said.

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

Laundrie was never charged in connection with Petito’s death, but federal agents issued an arrest warrant for the 23-year-old on Sept. 23, after a jury indicted him for the unauthorized use of Petito’s debit card.

Authorities alleged Laundrie had used the card to make withdrawals of more than $1,000.

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The Petito case captured the world’s attention, thanks in part to the couple’s social media presence.

The pair had posted photos of their trip across the United States on their social media accounts, but chilling bodycam footage and a 911 call that were released to the public hinted to the possibility of a darker side to Petito and Laundrie’s relationship.

The pair were stopped outside of the Moonflower Community Cooperative in Moab, Utah, on Aug. 12 after a 911 caller told police they had seen Laundrie slapping and hitting Petito.

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Body camera footage showed Petito crying as she described an argument that escalated into her slapping Laundrie while he was driving. Police asked the couple to separate for the night, but neither Petito nor Laundrie were detained and no charges were filed.

Laundrie returned home without Petito on Sept. 1 in the Ford van the couple took on their trip. Petito’s parents held a funeral for their daughter in Holbrook, N.Y., on Sept. 26. Across the street from the funeral home, a chain link fence was adorned with posters featuring Petito’s image and messages such as, “She touched the world.”

with files from Global News’ Chris Jancelewicz

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If you or someone you know is in crisis and needs help, resources are available. In case of an emergency, please call 911 for immediate help. 

For a directory of support services in your area, visit the Canadian Association for Suicide Prevention

Learn more about how to help someone in crisis. 

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