The young American traveller believed to have killed his fiancée Gabby Petito in a bizarre tragedy that made international headlines was "scavenged" by wild animals after his suicide, police have announced.
Brian Laundrie's body was found during a police search on October 20 2021.
His remains were so badly decomposed that his precise cause of death was not initially clear, but Sarasota Medical Examiner Dr. Wilson Broussard has finally released his full report on the Florida-born killer’s death.
In a notebook found near his body, Laundrie wrote a confession that he had murdered Petito.
Also found near his is body in the Florida swamp where he died was a snub-nosed .357 magnum revolver. One bullet had been fired from the gun and, according to Dr. Broussard, Laundrie had shot himself.
The skeleton itself was "almost entirely complete," he wrote. The skull was found in several fragments "consistent with a gunshot injury of the head.”
Unusually for a right-handed person, Laundrie appeared to have shot himself in the left temple.
The 23-year-old's remains were found in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in an area that had recently been under some three feet of water due to flooding.
Dr. Broussard says that Laundrie’s skeletal remains were scattered on dry land, with no soft tissue remaining, and he noted that the scene "lacked the odour of decomposition."
The Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park is home to a sizeable population of feral dogs, coyotes, rodents and raccoons and Laundrie’s bones showed signs of having been chewed on by local wildlife.
According to the post-mortem, the body showed evidence of "moderate to extensive animal predation" which is "characterised by gouging, gnawing and chewing marks."
FBI investigators also announced that after checking Laundrie’s phone they found evidence that he had sent text messages designed to deceive people into thinking that Gabby was still alive for several weeks after he had killed her.
“The timing and content of these messages are indicative of Mr. Laundrie attempting to deceive law enforcement by giving the impression that Ms. Petito was still alive,” the FBI statement said.
Gabby’s body had been found on September 19 at a camping site near Grand Teton National Park in northwestern Wyoming.
A coroner estimated that the 22-year-old had died of “blunt-force injuries to the head and neck, with manual strangulation” roughly three weeks earlier.
For emotional support, you can call the Samaritans 24-hour helpline on 116 123, email [email protected], visit a Samaritans branch in person or go to the Samaritans website.
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