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Family attorney releases Brian Laundrie’s cause of death


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Editor’s note: This story has been updated with the reaction from Gabby Petito’s family.

NORTH PORT, Florida — The family attorney for Brian Laundrie says an autopsy shows the man took his own life in the midst of a massive manhunt.

Laundrie became the center of a police investigation after police found the body of his fiancée, Gabby Petito, in rural western Wyoming. Laundrie had returned home to North Port, Florida, without Petito.

Authorities found his remains in October in the Carlton Reserve near his home.

“Chris and Roberta Laundrie have been informed that the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head and the manner of death was suicide,” the family’s attorney Steven Bertolino said in a statement to the media. “Chris and Roberta are still mourning the loss of their son and are hopeful that these findings bring closure to both families.”

Petito’s family members acknowledged the announcement on Laundrie’s cause of death, but through their attorney, Richard B. Stafford, they said the U.S. Attorney’s Office and Teton County, Wyoming, Prosecutor’s Office asked them not to make a statement to “let the FBI continue their investigation.”

“The family was also asked to wait for the United States Attorney’s Office to make a determination on whether any additional individuals will be charged,” they said. “When that determination is made, we will have a statement.”

The deaths of Petito and Laundrie

Laundrie had been reported missing by his family in September after they say he told them he planned to go on a walk. Less than a week after his disappearance, authorities found Petito’s remains, and a medical examiner ruled her death a homicide by strangulation.

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In the days before Petitio is believed to have died, police in Moab, Utah, had an interaction with the couple after someone reported a domestic disturbance between the two. The couple reportedly had an argument, police had them go their separate ways for the night and no charges were filed.

RELATED | New bodycam footage reveals what Gabby Petito told police about a domestic dispute with Brian Laundrie

Laundrie was never charged for Petito’s death, although an indictment came down after he allegedly used two of Petito’s financial accounts in the days following her killing.

RELATED | A notebook found near Brian Laundrie’s remains could answer some key questions, experts say