The District Twelve Medical Examiner has released its autopsy report for Brian Laundrie. The report reveals new details, including the condition of Laundrie’s remains and the items found with him.
According to the report, Laundrie’s remains and belongings were in plain sight along a trail in the Carlton Reserve. The report says that a water line on the trees was evidence of approximately three feet of water that had previously kept the remains hidden from view.
The report defines two scenes of investigation; the main scene and a secondary scene that was described in the report as being 100 to 250 feet to the east.
At the main scene, investigators found what was later determined to be Laundrie’s nearly complete skeletal remains, including his jawbones that were used to help identify the remains. Investigators also found personal items, including green shorts, a green belt, slip-on shoes, a backpack, a white metal ring, and a revolver that contained two live rounds and a spent one.
Using a metal detector, investigators found a projectile in the ground about 50 feet from where the skull fragments were found.
Investigators found animal skeletal remains, a handwritten half note, and a hat at the second scene.
The report says about 250 feet southwest of the main scene, a drybag was found containing a journal, a wooden box containing a small notebook, and photos, including at least one of Laundrie.
Using dental records and DNA analysis of the bones found, investigators confirmed that the body found in the Carlton Reserve was 23-year-old Brian Laundrie.
Laundrie’s fiance Gabby Petito was found dead in Wyoming before we knew that he killed himself in Carlton Reserve.
The autopsy report lists the cause of death as a “gunshot wound to the head with extensive, associated craniofacial fractures.”
A reconstruction of Laundrie’s skull determined that the gunshot went from left to right and exited his head. Laundrie’s sister says that her brother was right-handed.
While it may seem strange that someone who is right-handed would shoot themselves on the left side of the head, FGCU forensic studies professor David Thomas said, “well, in this case, everything has been so convoluted, I would think that the idea would be to throw people off, in his mind just got to create some doubt, that would be a way to do it.”
“There’s other evidence that you guys aren’t privy to, and haven’t been privy to, But that evidence probably gives them a lot more insight, and so until we get those facts, you just have to live with the idea that they have enough to believe that this was actually a suicide,” Thomas said.
“If you want to cast doubt, or you want to make investigators work extra hard, then you would do something to try to throw them off,” Thomas said.
FGCU actually played a significant role in this investigation. Heather Walsh-Haney is a forensic anthropologist and chair of The Department of Justice Studies at FGCU. She played a massive role in figuring out precisely what happened to Laundrie.
Brian Laundrie went missing from his North Port home in September. His family said the last time they saw him was Sept. 13. Investigators found his body in the Carlton Reserve on Oct. 20.
At the time of his disappearance and death, Laundrie was a person of interest in the death of Gabby Petito.
In January, the FBI released a statement saying that after a review of the notebook found near Brian Laundrie’s body, it “revealed written statements by Mr. Laundrie claiming responsibility for Ms. Petito’s death.”
Thomas says with all the details that were presented, investigators had to work to remove all doubt. “This is a murder-suicide. So if you would be as thorough as you possibly can, and so in order to tear it apart, to make sure that all those pieces of the puzzle are together and eliminate all the speculation, it would go through,” said Thomas. “I think they would make that kind of effort.”
The report also reveals that Brian Laudrie’s parents did not want to share their son’s social history with investigators. WINK News reached out to the family’s attorney, Steve Bertolino, for comment, but he said “no comment.”
If you would like to read the full report from the District Twelve Medical Examiner, you can do so below.