KEY POINTS

  • The expert says authorities will likely look for evidence of trauma
  • She noted that the place where the body was found could help determine Laundrie's cause of death
  • Other experts believe the notebook found alongside Laundrie's body could contain a suicide note

A forensic expert says authorities may never find out when and how Brian Laundrie died if the review of his skeletal remains stays inconclusive.

Dr. Kathy Reichs, a forensic anthropologist whose books inspired the TV series “Bones,” reacted to reports that Laundrie's remains have now been forwarded to an anthropologist. This is after the initial autopsy found his cause of death inconclusive.

According to Reichs, authorities are likely looking for trauma that would indicate he died by stabbing, slashing or gunshot. However, she noted that if the cause of his death didn’t “touch a bone,” investigators are unlikely to glean anything from Laundrie’s partial skeletal remains. His remains were found at the Myakkahatchee Park on Oct. 20.

“If it doesn’t touch a bone, then you’re not going to derive anything from the skeleton,” Reichs said on NewsNationNow’s “Banfield.” “There are many types of death that don’t leave anything in the bones, poisoning is not going to leave anything in the bones, unless it’s very long term, if you’re gut stabbed and you just bleed out.”

She said the anthropologist would likely work with an entomologist and botanist to look at where the bones were located in hopes of determining when and how Laundrie died.

“Is there vegetation growth above the bones, above the belongings that were in the vicinity of the body? All of those things are going to help in determining when Brian Laundrie died,” she added.

The FBI recovered Laundrie’s body at an area previously submerged underwater last week. Authorities had also discovered several personal items belonging to Laundrie not far from his body, including clothing articles, a backpack, a dry bag and a notebook.

While it is still unclear how he died, experts say the notebook could contain Laundrie’s suicide note as well as an explanation of the events that led to the death of his 22-year-old fiancée Gabby Petito.

Prior to finding his remains, Laundrie was named the sole person of interest in Petito’s death. Authorities had also issued an arrest warrant for him for illegally using Petito’s credit card between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1. Petito is believed to have been killed by manual strangulation in late August.

Laundrie has been missing since Sept. 13 when he reportedly went out to go hiking at the Carlton Reserve.

In bodycam images from August 2021, Gabrielle Petito speaks with police after an argument with boyfriend Brian Laundrie
In bodycam images from August 2021, Gabrielle Petito speaks with police after an argument with boyfriend Brian Laundrie Moab City Police Department / Handout
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