Brian Laundrie died of self-inflicted gunshot wound, medical examiner confirms

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TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Brian Laundrie, the fiancé of Gabby Petito and person of interest in her death, died from a self-inflicted gunshot, autopsy results show.

The District 12 Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed Tuesday it had completed its investigation into the death and determined Laundrie’s cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head. The manner of death was ruled a suicide.

According to a news release from the medical examiner’s office, the investigation included a scene response from medical examiner personnel and an examination of the skeletal remains that were recovered. The office also consulted with a forensic odontologist for dental comparison and identification, as well as a forensic anthropologist for skeletal reconstruction.

Laundrie’s identity was confirmed using both dental comparison and DNA analysis, the office stated.

Steven Bertolino, the Laundrie family’s attorney, texted WFLA reporters about the findings of the autopsy earlier Tuesday before they were officially released.

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

Earlier in the day, Bertolino had said to expect more answers on Laundrie’s death as soon as Tuesday. Laundrie’s skeletal remains were discovered Oct. 20 at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in North Port. The remains were identified as Laundrie through dental record comparison.

Bertolino said the remains were sent to a forensic anthropologist after an initial autopsy came back inconclusive.

The FBI has been the lead investigating agency on the case involving Laundrie and Petito. The agency has not released any kind of statement on Laundrie’s autopsy yet.

Laundrie was the only person of interest in the death of Petito. The couple went on a cross-country road trip this summer, but only Laundrie returned to their home in North Port. Petito’s body was found in Wyoming about a week after she was reported missing. A coroner said she was strangled to death.

Although Laundrie was named a person of interest in her killing, he was never charged with Petito’s murder. He was suspected of debit card fraud and withdrawing more than $1,000 from an unnamed account during the time she was missing.

Laundrie’s remains were located in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park along with a notebook and other personal items. The FBI has been working to preserve the water-damaged book. If the contents are still legible, crime experts say it could answer questions about why the couple died.

“We have experts who really spend their careers doing things like drying out paper evidence, trying to recover the writing and the ink marks, and potentially finger prints, and all sorts of potentially relevant pieces of evidence from an article just like this,” Former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer last week. “In terms of understanding Laundrie’s motive, his feeling about Petito, maybe event any kind of notes or comments he may have made about the events—that notebook could shed a lot of light on those issues.”

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