Florida medical examiner announces Brian Laundrie's cause of death

An autopsy report by the Sarasota, Florida, medical examiner stated Laundrie died from a gunshot wound to the head.

An autopsy report by the Sarasota, Florida, medical examiner stated Laundrie died from a gunshot wound to the head. (Moab Police Department)

Save Story
Leer en español

Estimated read time: 2-3 minutes

This archived news story is available only for your personal, non-commercial use. Information in the story may be outdated or superseded by additional information. Reading or replaying the story in its archived form does not constitute a republication of the story.

SARASOTA, Fla. — The cause of death of Brian Laundrie, the fiancé of Gabby Petito whose disappearance caused a firestorm late last summer, was revealed Monday.

An autopsy report by the Sarasota, Florida, Medical Examiner stated Laundrie died from a gunshot wound to the head.

Laundrie's skeletal remains were found in a thickly wooded area in the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County in October, according to the medical examiner's report, and had been under "up to three feet and possibly more" of water for an extended period of time before being located.

Officials said only Laundrie's skeleton remained due to "extensive carnivore activity" such as scavenging from coyotes, rodents and raccoons.

The 47-page report also detailed items recovered from the scene where Laundrie's remains were found including a backpack with a tent and flares, a piece of paper and red hat with the logo "Moab Coffee Roasters" and a wooden box that contained a small notebook and photos, according to the report.

In the notebook found with his remains, Laundrie wrote he was responsible for Gabby Petito's death, according to the FBI.

Laundrie had been the subject of a weekslong manhunt when his body was found. His family was informed he shot himself in the head, and his death was ruled a suicide, Laundrie family attorney Steve Bertolino said in November.

Laundrie and Petito embarked on a cross-country trip in June 2021. Two months later, in August, they had an encounter with Moab, Utah, police. Laundrie returned to Florida alone in September, and Petito's family reported her missing.

Her body was found later that month in Wyoming.

In the midst of the search for Petito, Laundrie invoked his Fifth Amendment right — meaning a person cannot be forced to make statements they feel might be negative or used against them. Police at the time were publicly asking Laundrie and his parents to talk to them about what they knew.

Laundrie himself then went missing, and his remains were found in October.

Domestic violence prevention resources

Help for people in abusive relationships can be found by contacting:

Suicide prevention resources

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, call the suicide prevention hotline at 1-800-273-TALK.

Crisis Hotlines

  • Utah County Crisis Line: 801-691-5433
  • Salt Lake County/UNI Crisis Line: 801-587-3000
  • Wasatch Mental Health Crisis Line: 801-373-7393
  • National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
  • Trevor Project Hotline for LGBTQ teens: 1-866-488-7386

Online resources

Related stories

Most recent U.S. stories

Related topics

Gabby PetitoU.S.
Amir Vera and Tina Burnside


    Get informative articles and interesting stories delivered to your inbox weekly. Subscribe to the KSL.com Trending 5.
    By subscribing, you acknowledge and agree to KSL.com's Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.

    KSL Weather Forecast