Why Police Think Brian Laundrie Killed Himself Before The Manhunt Even Began

The body of Brian Laundrie was discovered in Florida's Carlton Reserve on October 20, more than one month after he left his family's home and was reported missing, USA Today reports. Laundrie had been a person of interest in the death of his fiancee, Gabby Petito, who was strangled to death over the summer, according to CNN. A warrant for Laundrie's arrest was issued after he used an unauthorized debit card, but authorities did not find him alive. His remains and a few of his belongings, including a notebook and a backpack, were located in an area that had been submerged in water, FBI Tampa special agent Michael McPherson told USA Today. "I know you have a lot of questions, but we don't have all the answers yet. We are working diligently to get those answers for you," McPherson said after Laundrie's body was found.

In the days that followed, an autopsy was conducted, but it proved inconclusive. "No manner or cause of death was determined," Laundrie family lawyer Steven Bertolino said in a statement to NBC News. The remains were sent to an anthropologist in hopes of finding answers. In the mean time, police have presumed that Laundrie killed himself before the manhunt even began. Keep reading to find out why.

Brian Laundrie may have killed himself within days of Gabby Petito being reported missing

While we don't actually know what happened between Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito, and we don't know the circumstances around each of their deaths, police do believe that Laundrie died by suicide. During a luncheon held at the South County Tiger Bay Club, a handful of officers spoke about the case, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. "If Brian did go on the run, he would be found; I was confident of that," North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison said. Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman said that he believes that Laundrie took his own life after finding a relatively remote and secluded place to do so. 

According to TMZ, police believe that Laundrie died by suicide before the manhunt even began. The main reason? Police had searched the area for weeks but never came across Laundrie, who is believed to have been in the Carlton Reserve the whole time. "There was four feet of water out there at the time," Sheriff Hoffman said, according to the Sarasota Herald-Tribune. It seems as though Laundrie wasn't found sooner because his body was submerged in water. Joshua Taylor, a public information officer for the North Port Police, told People magazine that "there is a very good possibility" that Laundrie was dead just two days after Petito was first reported missing.