Sheriff Gives Update on Brian Laundrie's Cause of Death 2 Weeks After His Remains Were Found

A Florida sheriff has provided a new update on Brian Laundrie's cause of death, two weeks after the missing man's remains were found in a state park. According to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune, Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman spoke at a law enforcement forum on Friday, praising the work of North Port, Fla., Police Chief Todd Garrison and his team. "We talked probably 20 times during that situation and obviously we supported them out in the preserve looking for Brian Laundrie," Hoffman said.

Sheriff Hoffman then added, "That guy went out there and by all accounts probably committed suicide and he was right out there where we thought he was. There was four feet of water out there at the time." Laundrie was reported missing by his family on Sept. 17. They told authorities that he left home on Sept. 14 but never returned. His disappearance came just days before the body of his girlfriend, Gabby Petito, was found by authorities in Wyoming. Her family reported her missing on Sept. 11, after not hearing from her for nearly two weeks.

According to reports, Petito and Laundrie had set off on a cross-country trip in June. Near the end of August, Petito reportedly began to be less communicative before sending one last text on Aug. 30, which her family questions the authenticity of, as they feel it may not have been sent by her. Laundrie returned home to North Port on Sept. 1 but reportedly was unwilling to cooperate with police on the investigation of Petito's disappearance. Laundrie was never an official suspect in Petito's death, but he was considered a person of interest.

Authorities engaged in an extensive search for Laundrie, and eventually confirmed on Oct. 21 that his remains had been discovered. In a statement published by PEOPLE, attorney Steven Bertolino — the lawyer representing Laundrie's family — said, "Getting the news that your child is no longer with you is sad, under any circumstances." He continued, "The fact that the Laundries have been subjected to these people out in front of their house the last four weeks, and they continue out there today, makes it all the more difficult."


Bertolino also briefly addressed Petito's homicide death, saying, "Today is not the day to discuss the Gabby Petito case," due to the fact that his clients "suffered a grave loss." He added: "At some point in the future, there may be conversations to be had, there may be information to discuss - tonight is not that time. This case is not over. There are certain things that need to be done - I should say wrapped up - before we can have further conversations about what may or may not have been done differently."