As cops searched the country for Gabby Petito (his missing fiancee), Brian Laundrie may have committed suicide, a Florida sheriff revealed.
Petito disappeared and was murdered by Laundrie, 23. He had returned home alone from a cross-country roadtrip he took with Gabby, her white Ford Transit van.
While cops across the country searched for the missing 22 year-old, Laundrie’s parents reported him missing in September 17.
They claimed he was going to take a stroll at a local preserve. His remains were found in the Carlton Preserve on October 20th.
An autopsy was inconclusive, but according to the Herald Tribune, Sarasota County Kurt Hoffman has revealed that Laundrie went out to the preserve ‘and by all accounts probably committed suicide.’
Kurt Hoffman, Sarasota County Sheriff (pictured), announced that Brian Laundrie had likely committed suicide at a community meeting
Laundrie, 23 years old, was the main suspect in the murder and disappearance of Gabby Petito, his fiancee. He returned from their cross-country trek to North Port, Florida alone.
The admission was made at a community meeting, where North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison also spoke out in defense of his officers who mistakenly assumed Laundrie’s mom for the suspect before he went missing. He said it was ‘human error’
Officers reported last week that Roberta Laundrie was Brian’s mom and she had worn a baseball hat when she was mistook for her son. It was September 15, two days before Brian disappeared, but two weeks after he was reported missing.
They noted that Roberta and her son were ‘kind of built similarly’, and said both issues were to blame for the mix-up.
Garrison said at Friday’s meeting that once he discovered that his surveillance team had made a mistake it was important for the agency and to admit it.
“As a leader, what do you do?” Garrison rhetorically asked the South County Tiger Bay members. Garrison asked the South County Tiger Bay members rhetorically, “Do I not tell people what’s happening, or do we hide it, cover up?”
According to the Herald Tribune, he stated that “No, people want transparency, honesty, and accountability from their law enforcement officers.” “Yes, we made a mistake. Although it was human error, I stand by my team.
Garrison also noted at the meeting, reportedly, that the North Port Police Department only played an supporting role during the first three-and-a half days of the investigation as police officers from across the country searched for Petito.
He said that North Port was the lead agency in the investigation after that Wednesday, September 15. At the time, the case was still considered a missing person case.
Garrison stated, “Now we know that Brian had left the house by the time we became lead agency and presumably had been deceased out at the Carlton Reserve.”
On Friday, North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison (pictured), defended his officers who mistook Laundrie for his mother
He had announced at a news conference with Gabby Petito’s father, Joe Petito, on September 16 that he was aware of Brian’s whereabouts even though he had gone missing two days before
North Port police now admit they mistakenly took Roberta Laundrie for her child. Roberta was wearing a baseball hat when the mistake occurred and she noted that her son and she were ‘kind of built alike’
He stated that the surveillance team had told him “Chief Brian was seen entering the home.”
So when he spoke to the media the next day, he claimed he was aware of Brian’s whereabouts.
Garrison said to reporters that he only knew where Brian was at at the time.
He said that he believed 100% that what the team had told me was true and that Brian was present at the house during Friday’s community meeting.
‘Later, we learned that Brian had left the home and that his parents wanted to report him missing.
He stated, “There was no one more surprised than me about that.” “In fact, when my agents went to the house to complete the FBI report, I sat in my office with the deputy chief hoping that Brian would be found in a back bedroom.”
Garrison explained, “I was hoping maybe that it was a ploy.” It wasn’t.
He stood by the team’s efforts.
“As a 30-year-old [law enforcement]Veteran, doing surveillance, it’s not unusual and if any expert out here says it is, they are lying to you,” Garrison stated to the crowd, according the Herald Tribune.
“I can tell you one,’ he said, “The amount of work that was done behind-the scenes 24 hours a days, from our team to the FBI working on th floor of the police department, was phenomenal.”
He stated that “The work led search teams to locate Gabby Petto deceased,” and added: “I want to remind everybody: Our primary focus the first few days was to find Gabby.”
He said he was confident Laundrie would find him if he ran during the course of the investigation.
“We didn’t know much of this information in the first four days.”
After Laundrie’s remains were discovered in a swampy area of the Carlton Reserve, Carmine Marceno, Lee County Sheriff, and Garrison addressed the media
The remains were discovered north of Myakkahatchee Creek’s entrance. They were found in the Big Slough Preserve off an unpaved path near a bridge Brian’s parents said he liked visiting. It is four miles from their North Port home, Florida.
Brian was the subject of a manhunt that lasted nearly five weeks. The Carlton Reserve was where his Ford Mustang was parked. This was also an area where he was known for hiking.
The swampy conditions and the abundance of snakes and alligators made it extremely difficult to search for the park.
Laundrie’s skeletal remains including a part of a head were found in an area of swamp that was submerged for several feet until recently.
His autopsy was unconclusive, and the cause of death is still unknown. Investigators found a water-damaged notebook near his body. They believe it may contain clues to Gabby’s murder and hope to salvage its contents.
Experts believe that it was not surprising that the cause of his death would be so complicated, as his body was reportedly found in the water for some period.
Dr Heather Walsh-Haney spoke to WPBF News, stating that forensic anthropologists can be called upon when the environment has ravaged the soft tissue.
After the remains of the deceased were found, Sarasota’s Medical Examiner’s Office was called.
However, his autopsy was not conclusive. Experts warn that it may be difficult for them to determine the cause of death due to how long he was exposed to the elements.
Items belonging to Laundrie were also found in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, and investigators hope a journal will provide some insight into what had transpired between Laundrie and Petito
“Soft tissue markers that a pathologist would use.”
Gabby’s death was also determined by a forensic ananthropologist. Her body was found September 19, and on October 12, a Teton County Coroner announced that she had died from strangulation.
Walsh-Haney said the longer Laundrie’s remains are left outside, the greater the chances that evidence is lost.
Walsh-Haney stated that four weeks is too long for human remains to be in the wilderness.
Police recovered a notebook belonging to Brian, along with a backpack and a dry bag containing some of his personal items, from Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on October 20 in an area that had previously been underwater.
Officials claim that the notebook may be salvageable.
“It appears it might be salvageable.” Taylor said that this is a question for FBI, but it’s a matter for Fox News.
He did not specify if the document contained any legible writing or other information that could be helpful in the investigation into Gabby’s homicide.
According to the FBI, there is no new information they can share with the media outlet at the moment. However, they will continue posting updates to Twitter if they become available.
Petito and Laundrie had begun a cross-country trek in the summer.
They posted photos of themselves at various points along their journey
Their lives were not as easy as they appeared. Police pulled them over in theri vans on August 12, after receiving reports of a fight between them. Witnesses claimed they saw Petito hit by Laundrie. However, she was deemed the aggressor in the argument and the pair were separated for that night.
Gabby and Brian set out on a cross-country journey earlier this summer, with the intention of documenting it all on film for their social channels.
However, their loved-up Instagram persona was a far cry from the combative relationship that was playing out behind the scenes.
A few weeks before her disappearance, police in Moab (Utah) were called to the van by fellow travelers who saw Brian hitting Gabby.
They were separated for the night and Gabby was deemed the aggressor.
She hadn’t been heard from since August 26.
The remains of her body were retrieved by the Petito family from a Wyoming mortuary on October 18.
Steven Bertolino, a family lawyer, stated that the Laundries are quietly grieving Brian’s passing at their North Port home.
They don’t plan to hold a funeral.
Brian’s remains will go to cremation and be given to his parents “when the time is right,” he stated.