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Brian Laundrie died by self-inflicted gunshot, family attorney says

One month after Brian Laundrie's remains were found at a Florida preserve, his parents have learned his cause of death was a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, according to the family's attorney.

According to Steven Bertolino, the manner of death was suicide. It's unclear if the gun belonged to Brian, or where he may have obtained it. He later said Brian's parents surrendered guns to law enforcement in September, but one was missing.

"Chris and Roberta are still mourning the loss of their son and are hopeful that these findings bring closure to both families," the attorney said in a statement to FOX 13.

Last month, the attorney for Laundrie's parents said an autopsy on their son's remains, which were described as "bones" by North Port police, did not reveal a cause or manner of his death. The initial cause of death was inconclusive. His remains were sent to a forensic anthropologist for further examination. 

Forensic anthropologists analyze human remains, conduct DNA tests, and look for any signs of weapon evidence to help determine how a person died.

Brian was the sole person of interest following the disappearance of 22-year-old Gabby Petito, his fiancée, during their cross-country trek. The missing person case sparked a nationwide search. It ended with authorities finding her remains at a Wyoming national park on Sept. 19.

Brian Laundrie

Brian Laundrie, seen in Aug. 12 Moab police bodycam video

The coroner in Wyoming determined Gabby died by strangulation. Dr. Brent Blue revealed that it was estimated Gabby had been killed 3-4 weeks before her body was discovered, meaning she was likely killed shortly after August 25 when she made her last FaceTime call to her mom and her final social media post.

RELATED: Gabby Petito tribute bench placed North Port park will serve as permanent memorial

Brian returned to his parents' home in North Port on Sept. 1 with the van that was used during the road trip. Brian’s family reported him missing on Sept. 17, following a mix-up by the city's police department. Officials say they mistook Brian's mom for him the week he went missing, which is why they say he was able to disappear without detection.

READ: Brian Laundrie case: North Port police chief says agency 'made a mistake'

His parents said they believed he went to the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County. Thousands of man-hours were spent searching for Brian. Ultimately, his skeletal remains were discovered in October. 

Chris and Roberta Laundrie visited the park on the day when Brian's remains and items belonging to him were found. Using dental records, the FBI positively identified the remains as Laundrie's the next day.

Brian's parents previously said they will not hold a funeral for him.

Gabby's family released their own statement saying they have been asked not to comment further on the case until prosecutors decide "whether any additional individuals will be charged" in Gabby's death.

"We are thankful that another step in finalizing this case has been taken," North Port police chief Todd Garrison offered. "While this entire situation evokes nothing but sadness, we’re hopeful that all the work which went into the chaotic search for answers will help heal those impacted." 


An aerial view of the area where Brian's remains were found.