The fervor surrounding the death of Gabby Petito is beginning to subside these days, after her ex-fiancé Brian Laundrie’s body was recovered from a swampy nature park near his familial home.
Laundrie, who returned home alone from a cross-country road trip with his fiance, refused to assist police who were searching for clues in her disappearance. By the time her body was found near a campsite that the two had visited, Laundrie had already gone missing himself, after an alleged “hike” in the Carlton Reserve.
Weeks later, his remains was discovered, forever denying Petito’s family true justice and clarity.
Local police are now opening up about what they think the final moments of Laundrie’s life looked like.
North Port, Florida Police Chief Todd Garrison believes Brian Laundrie was probably dead before his officers started looking for him. Garrison, speaking on a panel with other law enforcement leaders Friday, acknowledged that his officers made a major error while watching the Laundrie home but defended the overall handling of the case, the Sarasota Herald-Tribune reports. The chief explained that his agency played a support role in the first few days after Gabby Petito, Laundrie’s fiancee, was reported missing to authorities in New York.
“Now, we know that, by the time we became the lead agency, Brian had already left the house and presumably had already been deceased out in the Carlton Reserve,” Garrison said.
As for the cause of death?
Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman, who was also on the panel Friday, praised Garrison and his department’s handling of the case, noting that the chief was right when he said the search for Laundrie should focus on the nature reserve.
“That guy went out there and by all accounts probably committed suicide and he was right out there where we thought he was,” Hoffman said. “There was four feet of water out there at the time.” (A Laundrie family attorney says the 23-year-old was “extremely upset” when he left his parents’ home.)
A journal belonging to Laundrie was found near his remains. Police have suggested that the tome may be at least partially salvageable, but have yet to release any information gleaned from the discovery.