Brian Laundrie's Autopsy Complete but No Manner or Cause of Death Determined; Skeletal Remains Sent to Anthropologist
An autopsy on Brian Laundrie's remains has been completed without providing answers regarding the cause or manner of his death.
Laundrie family attorney, Steven Bertolino, said the autopsy was completed Friday, and the remains of Gabby Petito's fiance will be sent to a forensic anthropologist for further examination.
Bertolino told TMZ he's not sure why an anthropologist is being involved in determining Laundrie's death. However, online studies noted that experts are brought into cases when bodies are far along in the decomposition to determine how a person died, whether accidental, suicide, homicide, or natural.
Forensic anthropologist Dr. Heather Walsh-Haney told WPBF News that forensic anthropologists are being called for help when the environment has ravaged or removed the soft tissue.
According to investigators, it appears that the body of Laundrie had been decomposing in a swampy area of the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in Florida for several weeks. And before the discovery on Wednesday, the remains had been underwater.
Authorities also found Laundrie's backpack and notebook, along with the human remains. The FBI field office in Denver said Thursday the "skeletal" remains were confirmed to be Laundrie after a review of dental records.
After a month-long manhunt for their son, the elder Laundries, Christopher and Roberta, directed the North Port police and FBI agents to the area where "some articles" belonging to Laundrie were found on Wednesday.
Bertolino told NBC News Thursday that his understanding was the park was open to the public "on Tuesday or Wednesday," and the couple had decided to look for their son by themselves since it was open, New York Post reported.
Bertolino added that after Laundrie's dad talked to him, he told him he wanted to notify law enforcement first "so that we would have no issue."
Brian Laundrie was named a person of interest by North Port police after returning home on September 1 or 10 days before Gabby Petito was reported missing by her family.
Petito disappeared on a cross-country road trip with Laundrie. The couple was traveling to Oregon when the YouTuber stopped communicating with her family in Wyoming in late August.
Petito's body was found at the Spread Creek Dispersed Campground near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on September 19.
A Teton County, Wyoming coroner said she was strangled to death by a "human being," and the manner of death was homicide.
Brian Laundrie Was' Grieving' When He Disappeared
Brian Laundrie's parents said they last saw their son on September 13 and not September 14, leaving home to go to the Carlton Reserve area for a hike.
The elder Laundries had changed the date of their son's disappearance from September 14 to September 13. They also announced that Laundrie was missing on September 17.
Bertolino earlier told Fox News that there was no communication between him and law enforcement "in the next three days." Thus, he said he and Laundrie's parents were never asked where their son was at the time.
According to Bertolino, the North Port police and the FBI were under the assumption that Gabby Petito's fiance was at home. "So when the FBI got a tip on Friday (September 17) that Brian was in Tampa, and they wanted to meet with us on Friday, I was shocked," the lawyer said.
"I said, 'That's good. You found him in Tampa,' and they said, 'What do you mean? I thought he's at the house.' I said, 'No, I told you the other day he never came home," he added.
In a press conference on September 16, North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison was asked if he knew where Laundrie was at that moment, and he said, "Yes." But the Laundrie family has reportedly made no effort to correct him.
Later Bertolino told ABC News that Christopher believed his son was "grieving" and upset when he left on September 13 to take a hike.
But the public did not know that Gabby Petito was dead until authorities had found her remains on September 19. On Friday, Bertolino had stepped away from that statement, saying he used the "wrong term," and "could have used a better choice of words," Fox News reported.
However, Bertolino noted that he still stands by that Laundrie was "upset" and "distressed." He also recounted how Christopher tried to stop his son from leaving the house.
"At the time, Chris said, you know, 'I couldn't stop him. He was going.' Brian was determined to go for a hike, and that seems to be something that we wish he didn't do," the lawyer told Fox News.
Bertolino did not explain why Gabby Petito's fiance was so upset that day due to confidentiality concerns.
Brian Laundrie's Parents
Known criminal defense lawyer Mark Geragos said Laundrie's parents could face legal consequences under certain situations now that authorities have discovered the remains.
Geragos told Fox News that the "potential liability" would be after the federal warrant was issued, there was "some assistance" given while their son was a fugitive.
That would mean that Laundrie's parents would likely be only accused of a crime for actions committed after the U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a federal warrant for their son.
Court documents showed that Brian Laundrie "knowingly with intent to defraud" used a debit card belonging to Gabby Petito in the amount of at least $1,000 between August 30 and September 1.
This article is owned by Latin Post.
Written by: Mary Webber
WATCH: Brian Laundrie's 'Bones' Found in Previously Underwater Area of Florida Preserve: FBI - From FOX 13 Tampa Bay
Subscribe to Latin Post!
Sign up for our free newsletter for the Latest coverage!