BRIAN Laundrie's skeletal remains recovered from a Florida nature yesterday were likely snacked on by alligators and other creatures as a body wouldn't decompose that quickly naturally, an ex-detective has said.
A backpack and notebook belonging to Laundrie were found by police near human remains at Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, near the Calton Reserve, on Wednesday that were today confirmed to be the 23-year-old.
While law enforcement shared very few details, two sources told local media on Thursday that the remains found were skeletal, consisting of a series of bones and a portion of a human skull.
The remains, and the articles belonging to Brian, were found in a stretch of land inside the 24,000-acre park that until recently had been submerged in floodwaters.
But Tom Joyce, a retired NYPD commander, exclusively told The Sun that the remains have likely suffered "a lot of post mortem predation."
"If the remains are skeletal, that means the tissue has been pulled away from the bones," Joyce said. "Most likely by alligators, crabs, fish and stuff like that.
"That's what it sounds like to me because it's definitely not long enough time for it to go naturally."
He added: "If it's only a three to four week period and there are only skeletal remains and very limited tissue remaining, I would have to say there's a lot a lot of activity that pulls all the skin and flesh and muscle and stuff away."
Laundrie was reported missing by his parents on September 17.
Typically, Joyce says, that in the first couple of days of a body being submerged in water, the hands start to swell.
"After five or six days the skin starts to separate a little and putrefaction sets in. This is where the bacterias and microorganisms inside the body cause it to explode and blow up,"he explained.
"This can also affect whether a body floats or sinks, which in turn affects how a body will decompose."
Joyce continued by saying that medical examiners may not be able to actually determine Brian's cause of death.
"Realistically, there are three things that could've happened," the retired NYPD Lieutenant Commander of Detectives said.
"He could've died accidentally, or by natural causes in the area because he ran out of food and maybe he was attacked by an animal.
"He could have committed suicide, or even potentially been the victim of a homicide.
"So let's say he killed himself and they find the skull, and it has a gunshot wound to the head. They can tell entry and exit [of the bullet]. And if it's not reasonable, like let's say the entry is in the back of the head and the exits in the front of the head that tells a whole different story than, you know, a shot to a temple, or from under the chin, or from inside the mouth."
But if the death was caused by toxic substance abuse or an injury at tissue level, such as a cut or even asphyxiation, Joyce says that will be much harder to detect.
"Considering the latest developments, the investigators have a lot of work still to do in this case," he said.
"Sometimes the case will end up in what we at the NYPD called a 'CUPPY': circumstances under pending police investigation.
"Sometimes, the medical examiner can't make a ruling. It's just something that might happen. And so in that case they can't say it's a homicide. They can't say it's a suicide. They can't say it's accidental. They can't say it was an animal attack – they might not be able to."
The FBI confirmed the identification of the remains in a statement on Thursday.
"On October 21, 2021, a comparison of dental records confirmed that the human remains found at the T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park are those of Brian Laundrie," it read.
Brian's parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, were present when the FBI discovered the remains.
They were then asked to leave the park as investigators continued combing the area.
Police were seen briefly entering the Laundrie's home in North Port on Thursday evening.
Shortly afterwards, the FBI released a statement confirming they had identified the remains as Brians.
That determination was made through the comparison of dental records, the FBI said.
"On October 21, 2021, a comparison of dental records confirmed that the human remains found at the T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park are those of Brian Laundrie," the statement read.
"The FBI is grateful for the tremendous investigative support from our partners."
Gabby Petito's family said they would not be commenting on Laundrie's death.
He had been on the run since September 13, two days after Gabby Petito was reported missing by her mother in New York.
Her remains were discovered at a campsite in Teton County, Wyoming on September 19.
A coroner later ruled that she had been strangled to death by a "human force" and that she'd been killed between three to four weeks before she was found.
The pair had been on a cross-country road trip touring the US' national parks at the time of Gabby's death.
Brian had not been named as a suspect but is the only named person of interest in the case.
He returned home to Florida without her on September 1 in the couple's repurposed van before disappearing himself 12 days later.
Brian's parents initially claimed to have last seen him on September 14 but later revised that date in a statement issued through their attorney.
After finally reporting him missing on September 17, they told police they had driven to the reserve in search of him.
While they say they didn't find Brian, they did find his silver Ford Mustang and drove it back to their home before contacting the cops the next day.
They refused to cooperate with police for weeks before joining them to search Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on Wednesday morning.
The discovery of the remains and Laundrie's belongings was made less than 90 minutes after they arrived at the park.
Gabby Petito timeline
Gabby Petito, 22, was last seen on August 24, leaving a hotel in Utah. Here is a timeline of Gabby Petito’s disappearance:
- June 2021 – Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie set off on a cross-country trip across the US.
- July 4 – Gabby posts photos of herself barefoot in Gove County, Kansas.
- July 8 – Gabby posts photos of herself at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
- July 18 – Gabby and Brian post photos of themselves at Utah's Zion National Park.
- August 12 – Body camera footage was released in September showing an encounter Brian and Gabby had with police in Utah. Police confirmed that no significant injuries were reported.
- August 19 – Gabby and Brian post a video on their YouTube channel chronicling their trip.
- August 24 – Gabby is spotted leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- August 25 – Gabby Facetimes her mom, Nichole Schmidt, for the final time. In a later police report, Schmidt said her conversations with her daughter revealed "more and more tension" between her and Brian.
- August 25 – Gabby also posts her last Instagram. No location is given.
- August 27 – Gabby is seen for what's believed to be the final time. Witnesses claim they saw Brian in an explosive argument with staff at a restaurant in Jackson Hole, leaving Gabby in tears.
- August 27 – Four hours later, travel bloggers driving through Grand Teton National Park drive past the couple's van "abandoned" on a dirt road.
- September 1 – Brian returns home to Florida without Gabby.
- September 11 – Gabby's parents report her missing to Suffolk County police.
- September 14 – Brian's family issues a statement saying he has retained an attorney and will not be cooperating with investigators.
- September 14 – Brian is allegedly last seen by his family. He reportedly told them he was going hiking in Cartlon Reserve but failed to return.
- September 15 – Florida's North Port police announce Brian is a person of interest in the case. He is not charged with any crime.
- September 16 – Utah police release body camera footage of the police encounter with Brian and Gabby.
- September 17 – Brian's parents say they have not seen their son in a couple of days and report him missing.
- September 18 – Police announce they were searching Carlton Reserve in Florida for Brian. Police announce they have not found anything.
- September 19 – Authorities in Wyoming say they found a body in Grand Teton National Park. The FBI announces the body was believed to be Gabby's but a full forensic identification needs to be completed first to confirm.
- September 20 – Police execute a search warrant on Laundrie's home, seizing his silver Mustang and a hard drive that may contain "evidence relevant to proving that a felony has been committed."
- September 21 – Officials announce they will be conducting an autopsy on the remains found in Wyoming to confirm whether or not they belong to Gabby. Police also resumed their search for Laundrie, this time on the Venice side of Carlton Reserve.
- September 21 – The FBI announced the body found in Wyoming was identified as Gabby's. The cause of death was not yet revealed.
- September 21 – The Teton County Coroner's office said Gabby's official cause of death was still pending but the initial manner of death is homicide.
- September 22 – Police continue to scour Carlton Reserve for a trace of Laundrie but yield no leads. A specialist dive team is called in to assist with the hunt.
- September 23 – Officials announced a federal arrest warrant for Brian was issued.
- September 26 – Gabby's funeral was held on Long Island, New York.
- October 12: Gabby's autopsy results were made public. Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue confirmed Gabby died by strangulation.
- October 20: Laundrie's personal items were found at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park. A medical examiner was called to the scene.
- October 21: The FBI confirmed the remains found have been identified as Laundrie's.
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