Gabby Petito boyfriend found dead amidst manhunt


(AP Photo/Chris O'Meara, File)

In this Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, file photo, Supporters of Gabby Petito hold up photos of Gabby after a news conference Wednesday, Oct. 20, 2021, in North Port, Fla. The FBI on Thursday, Oct. 21, 2021 identified human remains found in a Florida nature preserve as those of Brian Laundrie, a person of interest in the death of girlfriend Gabby Petito while the couple was on a cross-country road trip.

Maia Echols, Staff Reporter

The cross-country trip with his girlfriend, Gabby Petito, was supposed to be wholesome. However, it did not finish as such. Brian Laundrie had been a person of interest in Petito’s case since the beginning. Since earlier reporting, the case has seen a significant development: Laundrie was found dead. He was 23.

Petito and Laundrie embarked on a cross-country road trip in July 2021. Laundrie returned home alone on Sept. 1. After 10 days of Laundrie’s return home, Petito was reported missing. Laundrie left home three days after Petito was reported missing and had not been seen after. Two weeks later, her remains were found at a national park in Wyoming. Little is known about her death, other than the fact that the cause was due to “manual strangulation.” Laundrie did not share any information with the police regarding Petito’s disappearance. According to the BBC, Laundrie had been using Petito’s debit card after her death. After police were notified of this, a warrant was out for his arrest.

On Oct. 21, Laundrie’s body was found in Florida’s Carlton Reserve. His attorney believes that, because the autopsy came back inconclusive, the discovered remains are not Laundrie’s. “No manner or cause of death was determined,” said Steven Bertolino to NBC news. Ultimately, his death was confirmed by analyzing Laundrie’s dental records, indicating that he had been dead multiple days before his remains had been found. The family has no plans of having a funeral, but he will be cremated. Bertolino also advised Laundrie’s family to not speak to authorities during this time. Along with Laundrie’s remains, a backpack and a notebook were found. His remains were described as “skeletal,” according to NBC New York.

Rachael Surkala ‘24 says “I think it’s a terrible situation that, in theory, was avoidable because of the altercation with the cop but the cop didn’t stop them. Virtually, the cops could have saved both of their lives and now both of these people are dead. That’s so frustrating because Gabby was a young girl who just wanted to travel, this just makes me want to not travel because you never know what’s going to happen.” Authorities are hoping that they can make what they can from Laundrie’s death and answer more questions about the disappearance of Petito.