Duane "Dog" Chapman spent almost a month searching for Brian Laundrie, the person of interest in Gabby Petito's death, but Laundrie's remains were found at the Carlton Reserve on Wednesday. In an interview with InTouch Weekly on Thursday, Chapman claimed Laundrie might be alive today if his parents cooperated sooner. However, the circumstances of the 23-year-old Laundrie's death remain unknown.
"If the Laundrie parents [Christopher and Roberta] had fully cooperated from the beginning, Brian Laundrie might still be alive," Chapman told InTouch in his first comments since the FBI confirmed the remains found at the reserve on Wednesday were Laundrie's. The Dog the Bounty Hunter star later added that the "positive ID of Brian Laundrie's remains gives some measure of closure to this case, if not to Gabby's family, who will likely now never know what truly happened."
"We are praying for Gabby's family," Chapman told In Touch. "As a parent who has also lost a child, I know there's no ending to this story that brings Gabby back. But now the family can begin the process of grieving. Our thoughts are with them."
Steve Bertolino, the Laundrie family attorney, did not comment on Chapman's theory. "Chris and Roberta Laundrie have been informed that the remains found yesterday in the reserve are indeed Brian's," Bertolino said earlier Thursday. "We have no further comment at this time and we ask that you respect the Laundrie's privacy at this time."
The 22-year-old Petito and Laundrie were traveling across the country in a van when Petito's parents stopped hearing from her in late August. On Sept. 1, Laundrie arrived at his parents' North Port, Florida home without Petito. Ten days later, her parents, who live in New York, reported her missing. On Sept. 19, Petito's remains were found at Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. Meanwhile, Laundrie's parents reported him missing on Sept. 17. Florida officials searched Carlton Reserve, while Chapman centered his search around Fort De Soto Park. Chapman left Florida before Laundrie's remains were found.
On Wednesday, officials said they discovered belongings of Laundrie's and human remains at a trail in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, near Carlton Reserve. On Thursday, the FBI confirmed the remains belonged to Laundrie, using dental records. "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 FBI said in a statement, reports CBS News.
The Teton County, Wyoming coroner said Petito was strangled to death and the manner of death was homicide. However, Laundrie was not charged with her death. In late September, a Wyoming federal court issued a warrant for his arrest for allegedly using a debit card that was not his between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1. Petito's parents have not commented on the discovery of Laundrie's remains.