The gripping case of social media couple Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie may have faded from headlines upon the discovery of Laundrie’s body in October, but the technicalities of his death are still being wrapped up.
Now, the details of Laundrie’s death by a gunshot wound on the Florida nature reserve where he was last known to have been — and what became of his remains as authorities continued to search for him — have been released.
And they are repugnant.
Laundrie, who was briefly the most-wanted man in America after having already met his gruesome demise, seems to have passed in an even less dignified manner than his fiancé.
In case you somehow missed one of the summer’s biggest media stories, Petito and Laundrie were social media bloggers who were traveling cross country in a refurbished van when Petito suddenly stopped making contact with her family back in Long Island, New York.
When she was finally reported missing on Sept. 11, Laundrie had already traveled back to the home the couple had been sharing with his parents in Florida, and he quickly became the No. 1 suspect in her disappearance, which was later confirmed to be her death.
Laundrie himself went missing on Sept. 14, his parents revealed to authorities three days later.
While he remained a mere person of interest to authorities, Laundrie was widely suspected by the public to have been responsible for Petito’s death. A massive manhunt was initiated, attracting the likes of Duane “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Chapman and America’s Most Wanted host John Walsh.
As it turned out, all the media attention and manpower was for naught — Laundrie had been dead the whole time, having taken his own life just days after the case first received media attention.
On Monday, The New York Post reported that the 23-year-old’s full autopsy report had been released, revealing the details of the shot that took his life as well as the fate of his remains in the wildlife-infested area.
The forensic report revealed that, according to the Post, “The single bullet entered his brain at the left temple and exited through the right, traveling slightly upward.”
The “the vast majority of [his] skeleton” save a few bones and teeth were recovered “scattered in plain sight.”
Meanwhile, his bones showed signs of “gnawing and chewing” from “post-mortem scavenging/carnivore activity” which were “consistent with carnivores and/or omnivores including canines such as feral dogs and coyotes along with rodents and raccoons,” according to the report.
A Windicator revolver was also found at the scene with two live rounds and one used one. Nearby, a “secondary” scene contained a portion of a handwritten note, a “MOAB Coffee Roasters” hat, and a waterproof bag containing a wooden box, journal, notebook and photograph of Laundrie.
The man’s body was found in late October after several feet of water that had previously covered the scene receded.
In late January, the FBI revealed that Laundrie had left in a notebook found on the scene a handwritten confession taking responsibility for Petito’s death, although details of the note were not released.
“All logical investigative steps have been concluded in this case,” said Michael H. Schneider, the special agent in charge of the Denver field office, in a statement cited by The New York Times. “The investigation did not identify any other individuals other than Brian Laundrie directly involved in the tragic death of Gabby Petito.”
Petito, whose remains were found in Wyoming on Sept. 19, was believed to have been strangled to death.
The young couple, who shared grinning photographs of their #vanlife travels on Instagram and uploaded videos of their trip to YouTube, were the subject of a domestic violence call in Moab, Utah, a few weeks before Petito went missing.
It was later revealed that, what was likely only hours before her death, Petito and Laundrie were involved in a minor altercation at a restaurant in Wyoming when Laundrie became angry at the staff over an issue with the bill. Petito reportedly returned to apologize on his behalf.
She was apparently strangled to death by her fiancé soon thereafter and dumped in the wilderness of Grand Tetons National Park.
It’s heartbreaking to think that, just weeks earlier, the two were disputing accusations of domestic violence during a stop by Moab police, with a tearful Gabby insisting that she and Laudrie were in love.
A horrific case, and a heartbreaking example of the sinful depths of the human heart and the capacity for anger to cloud out basic human compassion until a man cruelly snuffed out the life of the woman he loved.