Explosive theory over why key details are missing in Brian Laundrie autopsy

·3-min read

The Petito family's lawyer has suggested "additional individuals" could be charged in the disappearance and killing of Gabby Petitio, a possibility some legal experts suggest could be the reason why key details were removed from Brian Laundrie's autopsy this week.

Attorney Richard Stafford issued a statement on Tuesday (local time) after officials revealed that Brian Laundrie, Ms Petito's fiancé, died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. 

In the statement, he said prosecutors have asked the Petito family not to comment on the case while they investigate the disappearance and killing of the young YouTuber, alluding to the possibility that others could be charged.

Selfie taken by Gabby Petito and her fiance Brian Laundrie wearing blue towels smiling.
Brian Laundrie and his fiancee Gabby Petito were on a camping trip when she was reported missing. Source: North Port Police Department

Mr Stafford said federal authorities and prosecutors in Wyoming asked that he and Ms Petito's parents and stepparents refrain from commenting on the case.

"The Schmidt and Petito family has been aware of the circumstances surrounding the suicide of the sole suspect in Gabby's murder," Mr Stafford's statement read.

"Gabby's family will not be making a statement at this time due to the request of the United States Attorney's Office and the Teton County Prosecutor's Office.

"The family was asked to not make any comments and 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. When that determination is made, we will have a statement."

Laundrie was never charged with harming or killing Ms Petito, however he was previously charged with the unauthorised use of Ms Petito's credit card.

Screenshot from bodycam footage showing a blonde haired young woman wearing a brown shirt and white shorts crying holding water bottles.
Gabby Petito's body was discovered in Wyoming on September 19. Source: The Moab Police Department via AP

Experts weigh in on missing detail in Brian Laundrie autopsy 

Brian Laundrie's remains were found in a nature reserve near his Florida home weeks after vanishing on September 13.

His family's lawyer revealed on Tuesday that the 23-year-old died from a gunshot wound to his head. Authorities are not seeking anyone in connection to his death.

Speaking to a local NBC affiliate in the United States, a pair of law enforcement experts said they were intrigued by some missing details in the autopsy results. 

Former FBI Agent Stuart Kaplan pointed to a line in the report which said other information from the autopsy "may not be made public or released until the law enforcement investigation is complete".

"That tells me that law enforcement is still actively investigating whether perhaps other crimes may have been committed," he told NBC 5

He believes investigators may still be looking into whether anyone helped Brian Laundrie evade police surveillance and stay hidden during a highly publicised manhunt. 

That is likely the reason authorities did not release the time and date of Laundrie's death, he believes.

"I think they want to figure out who said what at what particular time and see whether or not that, in fact, is consistent with the overall facts," he said. 

Palm Beach County State Attorney Dave Aronberg agreed, telling the network that if those close to Laundrie lied to police they could be in serious trouble. 

"If they lied to investigators, that could be a serious crime," he said. "At the federal level, that’s a felony." 

Readers seeking support for their mental illness can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467.

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