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Timeline: Attorney for Laundrie family says Brian Laundrie died from self-inflicted gunshot wound

Gabby Petito STILL
Gabby Petito STILL(WWSB)
Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 4:16 PM EST
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NORTH PORT, Fla. (WWSB) - Brian Laundrie, the fiancée of Gabby Petito and the only person of interest in her death, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Sarasota County medical examiner.

“The cause of death has been determined to be a gunshot wound to the head. The manner of death has been determined to be suicide,” the District 12 Medical Examiner’s office said Tuesday.

The medical examiner’s office said their investigation included a complete examination of skeletal remains; DNA analysis; as well as consultations with a forensic odonatologist, including dental comparison for identification; and a forensic anthropologist, including skeletal reconstruction.

Petito vanished during a cross-country road trip with Laundrie. Laundrie returned to his parents’ home in Florida -- alone -- driving her van on Sept. 1. Petito was officially declared a missing person on Sept. 11.

Initially, on the advice of their attorney, Brian and the family were not speaking to investigators. The Laundrie family met with detectives on Friday, Sept. 17, to report him missing.

Here is a timeline of events in the case:

July 2, 2021:

Gabby and Brian head out from New York on their cross-country road trip. On July 4, Gabby posted a photo of her in Kansas on her Instagram. She was planning on creating a blog about the trip and told authorities in Utah that she had recently quit her job as a nutritionist to create content.

Statements from the Petito family say the couple drove about 3,800 miles, to Kansas, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.

Aug. 12, 2021:

Police in Moab, Utah were called to a domestic incident.

According to an incident report from the Moab City Police Department, a witness told officers the couple was arguing when Petito began slapping Laundrie. Laundrie appeared to try to lock her out of their Ford Transit camper but she managed to get inside. They drove off before the police arrived.

Police searching the area spotted the van speeding and driving erratically. A traffic stop was made; when officers approached, Petito was crying uncontrollably, the report noted.

Officers said both Petito and Laundrie said she suffers from serious anxiety; that months living together in a small van created an emotional strain between them.

Laundrie told police Petito had gone into a “manic state” and thought he was going to leave her in Utah without a ride. Officers also noticed several small scratches on Laundrie’s face and arm.

Officers determined that the situation did not rise to the level of domestic assault but suggested they separate for the night. Officers contacted a local family crisis center, which arranged a hotel for Laundrie.

Police took him to the hotel; Petito stayed with the van, the report said. Both said they were in love and expressed a desire to stay together, officers noted.

Aug. 25, 2021:

Posting on all of Gabby’s social media accounts stopped.

Her last text to her mother on this date reads, “No service, in Yosemite.”

Aug. 30, 2021:

Attorneys for Gabby’s family confirm they received a text message from her phone, but the attorney says the family does not believe the text was sent from Gabby.

Sept. 1, 2021:

Brian Laundrie returns to North Port with the van that was registered to Gabby. She is not with him.

Sept. 11, 2021:

Gabby Petito’s family reports her missing to authorities in Suffolk County, New York.

Sept. 15, 2021:

North Port Police take over the investigation and classify Brian Laundrie as a person of interest. He is not cooperating with the investigation. Police recover the van and some items out of it.

Sept. 16, 2021:

Gabby’s father comes to North Port and asks for help in bringing his daughter home safely.

Sept. 17, 2021:

A vigil is held in North Port for the safe return of Gabby Petito. At the same time, Brian’s family requests to talk to the police. Brian is not on the scene. The FBI and officers searched a vehicle outside the home. Brian is not talking to investigators.

Now, the North Port Police Department and the FBI are searching for Brian.

The attorney for the Laundrie family, Steven Bertolino, called FBI investigators Friday saying the family wanted to talk about the disappearance of their son.

Family members are now claiming they have not seen Brian since Tuesday of this week, according to the North Port Police Department.

His attorney released the following statement to our ABC affiliate, WABC, in New York:

“Be advised, the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie are currently unknown. The FBI is currently at the Laundrie residence removing property to assist in locating Brian. As of now, the FBI is looking for both Gabby and Brian.”

According to WABC, his attorney says police removed items from Laundrie’s parent’s home on Friday to help find him.

Department officials also said it is important to note that while Brian has been named an official person of interest in this case, he is not wanted for a crime. They are currently not working a criminal investigation against Brian.

Sept. 18 and 19, 2021:

North Port Police continue searching in an area where Brian was last believed to have been walking. His family told investigators he left his home with a backpack on Tuesday.

Crews are continuing their search and say they are working to verify that Brian left, saying they only have information from his family members. They confirmed that his car was recovered in front of the home, saying Brian’s family likely picked it up from the reserve after saying he drove himself there.

Sept 19, 2021:

FBI agents confirm that human remains found in Wyoming are believed to belong to Gabrielle Petito. The remains matched her description but a cause of death was not immediately known. North Port Police called off its search for Brian Laundrie.

Sept 21, 2021:

The search for Laundrie continued in Carlton Reserve as FBI agents executed a search warrant at the Laundrie home and towed the silver Mustang belonging to Brian.

The attorney for the Laundrie family originally announced that he would hold a press conference Tuesday. But, on Monday night, he said he was holding off on the press conference after conversations he had with FBI officials. An autopsy confirmed that the remains found in Wyoming were indeed those of Gabrielle Petito. Her death is being called a homicide but the cause of the death has not been released.

Sept 22, 2021:

Multiple agencies are continuing their search for Brian Laundrie in rough terrain at Carlton Reserve. They are searching with drones, helicopters and K-9 units.

Around 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, the search at the Carlton Reserve ended. Things are expected to pick back up on Thursday.

Sept. 23, 2021:

Crews are back out at Carlton Reserve for the sixth day of searching. There is still no sign of Laundrie.

A former Green Beret and a former Sarasota Police Chief are combining resources to offer a reward for information that leads to an arrest in the case. At this point, Brian Laundrie is still only being called a person of interest and no criminal charges have been filed.

The FBI has issued an arrest warrant for Brian in connection with the fraudulent use of a credit card.

Sept. 24, 2021:

It has been 10 days since Laundrie’s parents say he went to Carlton Reserve on a hike.

The family’s attorney, Steven Bertolino, confirms with ABC7 that Robert and Chris, Brian’s parents, said Brian left his cellphone and wallet at home on Sept. 14. This was the day he allegedly went on a hike.

The parents also said they were concerned when he left that he was going to harm himself.

Sept. 27, 2021:

It is announced that the FBI is the lead on the investigation. They also announced that they were scaling back on the search and doing more targeted searches, including in waterways.

Sept. 28, 2021:

The sheriff for the Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office confirms that they are not conducting an investigation in Ft. DeSoto. “We are unaware of any confirmed sightings of Brian.”

The public information specialist for Pinellas County did tell ABC7 that there are cameras at Ft. DeSoto Park and they are operated by the sheriff’s office.

The Petito/Schmidt family also spoke for the first time on Monday since the discovery of Gabby Petito’s body. Authorities have still not announced a cause of death.

The Pinellas County Communications office sent over documents confirming that Roberta Laundrie, Brian’s mother, checked into site 001 at Ft. DeSoto Park on Sept. 6 and checked out on Sept. 8. The document does not state who was with her.

Despite the records showing that Brian’s mother checked out on the 8th, according to their attorney, Steven Bertolino, the reservations were set for the 8th, but they left on the 7th.

Sept. 29, 2021:

According to North Port Police, they did not see Brian Laundrie on Sept. 11 when they went to his parent’s home.

The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office public information officer confirmed with ABC7 that the surveillance video from Fort DeSoto campground was released to the FBI on Tuesday.

ABC7 was also told by Attorney Bertolino that a phone was purchased by Brian Laundrie. He said Brian left it home the day he went on a hike to the reserve. Bertolino confirmed that the FBI now has that phone.

A team with Dog the Bounty Hunter is still searching an island near Fort DeSoto Park in Pinellas County, according to Twitter. K9s have been brought in to help with the search.

Oct. 5, 2021:

According to Brian Laundrie’s attorney, Steven Bertolino, his parents now say they haven’t seen Brian since Monday, Sept. 13. They had previously said it was Tuesday, Sept. 14.

The attorney said the following to ABC7 Reporter Daniela Hurtado:

“The Laundries were basing the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events. Upon further communication with the FBI and confirmation of the Mustang being at the Laundrie residence on Wednesday, September 15, we now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday, September 13.”

Bertolino also told ABC7 that Brian flew home to Tampa from Salt Lake City International Airport on Aug. 17 and returned to the airport on Aug. 23 to go back with Gabby. He said, to his knowledge, Brian and Gabby paid for the flights as they were sharing expenses.

Bertolino said Brian flew home to get some items and empty and close a storage unit to save money as Brian and Gabby were thinking of extending their road trip.

Oct. 6, 2021:

On Wednesday, Laundrie’s attorney, Steven Bertolino, said that Brian’s father, Chris Laundrie, was asked to help with the search. Here is what he said in a statement to ABC7:

“Chris Laundrie was asked to assist law enforcement in their search for Brian at the preserve today. Since the preserve has been closed to the public, Chris has not been able to look for Brian in the only place Chris and Roberta believe Brian may be. Unfortunately, North Port Police had to postpone Chris’ involvement but Chris and Roberta and hopeful there will be another opportunity to assist.”

ABC7 then reached out to Josh Taylor, the PIO for North Port Police Department, who said this:

“The FBI is the lead. The NPPD, would not be making these decisions and actions. The FBI would have to answer if that was true.”

According to CNN, police have found remnants of a campsite that appeared to have been recently used at the Carlton Reserve. A source close to the family told CNN’s Chris Cuomo this information on Wednesday.

According to CNN, Chris Laundrie was asked to help with the search until the discovery of the campsite, and then he was told officials wanted to search the area alone. CNN reached out to the North Port Police Department, who told them that the FBI is the lead in the case and would be making those decisions.

The Carlton Reserve has been closed to visitors since the search started.

CNN is also reporting that Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office was asked to help with the search on Wednesday.

Oct. 7, 2021:

CNN is now reporting that North Port Police said investigators did not find a campsite at the Carlton Reserve.

The confirmation from NPPD’s Public Information Officer Josh Taylor comes after a source close to the Laundrie family told CNN they had been told police did make a discovery.

That same source insisted with CNN on Thursday that the family had been told a campsite was found.

Josh Taylor said the following to CNN:

“Is it possible that they thought that there might be a campsite out there or something they may have seen from the air but when they got on the ground that’s not what it turned out to be? Sure, I think that’s a possibility. Bottom line is that investigators are telling me that no campsite was found out there.”

Oct. 11, 2021:

According to our ABC affiliate in New York, WABC, the autopsy results of Gabby Petito are expected to be announced at a press conference on Tuesday.

The Teton County coroner, Dr. Brent Blue, is expected to hold that press conference at 2:30 p.m. EST to announce a ruling on the autopsy of Petito.

Oct. 12, 2021:

The Teton County coroner, Dr. Brent Blue, confirmed that Gabrielle Petito died from strangulation. The manner of her death had already been ruled a homicide.

Officials in North Port took down the temporary memorial for Gabby and shipped the items to the Petito-Schmidt family.

The city does plan on creating a more permanent memorial for Gabby.

Oct. 19, 2021:

According to City of North Port officials, the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park has re-opened to the public.

Oct. 20, 2021:

On Wednesday, the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park was closed off by law enforcement. The attorney representing Brian Laundrie’s parents, Steven Bertolino, said Chris and Roberta were searching for Brian in the park on Wednesday morning.

“Chris and Roberta Laundrie went to Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park this morning to search for Brian. The FBI and NPPD were informed last night of Brian’s parents’ intentions and they met Chris and Roberta there this morning. After a brief search of a trail that Brian frequented some articles belonging to Brian were found. As of now, law enforcement is conducting a more thorough investigation of that area.”

Around 2 p.m., ABC7 confirmed that the District 12 Medical Examiner’s Office had also been called to the park.

Then, the FBI in Tampa tweeted that items of interest were found in connection with the search for Brian Laundrie.

At a press conference that was held around 4:30 p.m., officials did confirm that remains were found. They also gave more clarity on the items found, saying that it was a backpack and a notebook. Officials would not take questions during the press conference but did say the items were found in an area that had just recently been underwater.

FBI officials also said that they would be combing the area for days.

After that press conference, Bertolino sent out another statement:

“Chris and Roberta Laundrie were at the reserve earlier today when human remains and some of Brian’s possessions were located in an area where they had initially advised law enforcement that Brian may be. Chris and Roberta will wait for the forensic identification of the human remains before making any additional comments.”

October 21, 2021

FBI Denver confirms that the skeletal remains found matched dental records belonging to Brian Laundrie.

November 23, 2021

Brian Laundrie, the fiancée of Gabby Petito and the only person of interest in her death, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the Sarasota County medical examiner.

“The cause of death has been determined to be a gunshot wound to the head. The manner of death has been determined to be suicide,” the District 12 Medical Examiner’s office said Tuesday.

The medical examiner’s office said their investigation included a complete examination of skeletal remains; DNA analysis; as well as consultations with a forensic odonatologist, including dental comparison for identification; and a forensic anthropologist, including skeletal reconstruction.

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