KEY POINTS

  • A K-9 handler says cadaver dogs should have detected the body even if it was underwater
  • The expert suggested Laundrie may have been alive when cadaver dogs were brought in last week
  • Authorities are now working to determine Laundrie's cause of death

A former police officer on Thursday said he found it “highly suspicious” that cadaver dogs did not detect Brian Laundrie’s body in a Florida reserve weeks ago, even if it was underwater. 

Authorities searching for Laundrie on Wednesday found his body in Florida’s Carlton Reserve. The skeletal remains, which the FBI identified to belong to Laundrie on Thursday, was discovered in an area previously submerged in water. 

However, Kyle Heyen, a K-9 handler and former police officer, said it was suspicious that cadaver dogs missed the remains during a search conducted weeks ago.

“It’s highly suspicious,” Heyen said during an appearance on “Dan Abrams Live.” 

“If the body was there at that time X weeks ago, they should have found that. They would have detected Laundrie’s body.”

Heyen, who is the principal and founder of Detector Dogs International Inc., suggested that Laundrie may have still been alive at the time the cadaver dogs were brought in on Oct. 14.

“You have to believe then that at the time the dogs were there, he wasn’t dead at that time,” he added. 

Laundrie has been missing since Sept. 14, when his parents said he went out to hike at the nearby Carlton Reserve. He was the sole person of interest in the death and murder of his fiancée, 22-year-old Gabby Petito.

Authorities have since launched an extensive search operation at the 25,000-acre Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, which was closed to the public. The park reopened Tuesday more than a month into the search. 

Both Chris and Roberta Laundrie, Brian’s parents, were at the park at the time of the search and the discovery of the remains. The couple met with the North Port Police Department around 7 a.m. Wednesday to assist with the search, according to family lawyer Steven Bertolino. 

“As they walked into the preserve, they walked down the path that had been searched and looked many times before,” Bertolino told WFLA.

Authorities are now working to determine Laundrie’s cause of death. They are also working to identify whether the notebook found alongside the body could still be salvaged. 

Law enforcement agencies during the search of the T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve for Brian Laundrie Law enforcement agencies during the search of the T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve for Brian Laundrie Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Octavio JONES