No cause of death could be determined after an autopsy of Brian Laundrie’s remains Friday, the attorney for his family told a Fox 5 NY reporter.
Steven Bertolino said that since no cause of death could be identified, Laundrie’s bones would be sent to an anthropologist for examination.
After more than a month of searching for him, Laundrie’s skeletal remains, including a partial skull, were found near some items belonging to him in two Sarasota County parks Wednesday. The FBI Denver’s office used dental records to determine they belonged to Laundrie, a person of interest in the strangulation death of his fiancée, Gabby Petito.
After the remains were identified as Laundrie on Thursday, Bertolino told ABC 7 Laundrie was “grieving” and “upset” when he left his parents’ home to go hiking Sept. 13.
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Laundrie and Petito, both Long Island, New York, natives living in North Port, Florida, with his family, were traveling across the country visiting national parks this summer when she disappeared at the end of August. Her body was found near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Sept. 19.
Laundrie returned to Florida in Petito’s van alone on Sept. 1 and was reported missing by his parents Sept. 17. Authorities had been searching for him ever since.
His parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, told police they last saw him Sept. 13 when he said he was going hiking at the Carlton Reserve, which is connected to Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park by a 12-mile trail.
The remains and his belongings were found by his parents and authorities Wednesday morning.
Related: Photos: The Search For Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie
“Chris and Roberta knew that their son, Brian, was grieving” when he left their home Sept. 13, attorney Steven Bertolino told ABC 7. “They knew he was so upset, and they just couldn’t control that he was leaving, and he left. He walked out the door. Chris has said to me, ‘I wish I could have stopped him, but I couldn’t.'”
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Given Laundrie’s state of mind when he left his parents’ home, the attorney said the family “suspected that he may have hurt himself.”
He told “Good Morning America,” “Of course, knowing his mental state when he walked out the door, it was always a concern, but let’s wait for the medical examiner. If they can come up with some other explanation for the cause of death, we’re going to accept that. If not, I guess we’re going to have to accept that Brian did kill himself.”
The Laundries aren’t surprised their son was found dead, and they had talked about the possibility multiple times, the attorney added.
“It’s not a surprise,” Bertolino said. “As the weeks went by, this was something that — I have used the term — it wasn’t unthought of. We discussed it. We thought that this might be the end results, but at the very end, when it hits home, you know, it doesn’t make it much easier.”
The attorney also slammed rampant speculation by “armchair internet warriors” that the Laundries assisted their fugitive son.
“People are entitled to believe whatever they want. That being said, there’s a difference between people believing it and people being allowed to have a platform to have these crazy ideas out there,” Bertolino said.
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He shot down theories circulating that the Laundries planted items belonging to their son in the parks and that they knew exactly where he was.
Brian Laundrie’s belongings and remains were found in one of his favorite areas to hike, an area his parents shared with authorities previously but had been under water at the time, Bertolino said.
“These platforms are still running amuck with these ludicrous and, I have to say, nonsensical theories of the parents planting things there (in the parks,)” he told NBC News. “I mean, enough is enough. When does it stop?”
He also wouldn’t comment on the circumstances of Petito’s death.
“There are two families here that have suffered a great tragedy. There are two young people that have now lost their lives. There are parents that are suffering,” the attorney said. “Whatever happened, whatever didn’t happen, whatever people know, this is tragic for two families and anyone with a child and anybody with a sense of humanity can understand the frustration that both families feel.”
Bertolino told GMA, “When it comes to the FBI, we have absolutely nothing to say with respect to the Gabby Petito incident. With respect to Brian, we’ve been cooperating from day one. And those are two different, from a legal perspective, those are two different scenarios. One was a missing persons (case) with Brian. One was a missing persons (case) with Gabby.”
He also said he doesn’t expect any charges to be filed against Chris and Roberta Laundrie and that there was no deal offered by the FBI to give them immunity.
“Conversations were had several weeks ago with the FBI with respect to certain charges when questioned and when communications were had between myself and the FBI, I think it was realized that charges were not appropriate,” Bertolino said. “There was never a threat. There was never a coercion. There was never a deal cut.”
The “case is not over,” he added, noting that he still needed to speak with several law enforcement agencies and didn’t rule out a conversation between the Laundrie and Petito families in the future.
“There are certain things that need to be done or, I should say, wrapped up,” the attorney said.