Brian Laundrie's autopsy is inconclusive and his bones will now be sent to an anthropologist to determine the exact cause of his death, Florida authorities said. The development comes two days after the fugitive's remains were discovered along with some of his personal belongings in a Florida park. Laundrie's body was determined through his dental remains on Thursday.
No manner or cause of death was given on Friday following the autopsy. The news comes amid claims by experts and several others that the fugitive boyfriend of Gabby Petito might have fallen prey to alligators in the Florida park where he had gone after leaving his parents' home.
Although many are of the opinion that the 23-year-old Laundrie fell prey to wild animals in the Florida park, the medical examiner didn't give any manner or cause of death. "No manner or cause of death was determined, and the remains were sent to an anthropologist for further evaluation," Laundrie family lawyer Steve Bertolino said.
The place where Laundrie's body was found is a swampy area in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park and till a few days back was underwater. The area is home to alligators and wild pigs and chances are that Laundrie may have been killed by these animals.
According to reports, Laundrie's remains that include part of a skull is believed to lying there for quite a few days. Moreover, pinpointing his cause of death would be complicated given that it is believed that the body had reportedly lain in the water for some time.
"Forensic anthropologists are called upon when the environment has ravaged or removed the soft tissue...Soft tissue markers that the forensic pathologist would use," said Dr Heather Walsh-Haney, speaking to WPBF News.
Did Alligators Kill Laundrie?
Much like Laundrie, help from anthropologists was also taken to analyze the body of Petito, who was found strangled to death in a Wyoming national park last month.
Laundrie's parents Chris and Roberta led law enforcement to the Florida park on Wednesday, after a month-long manhunt for the person of interest in Petito's murder failed to turn up any viable leads.
"My understanding was it either open to the public on Tuesday or Wednesday, and Chris and Roberta decided that since it was open ... they wanted to go and look for Brian by themselves," Bertolino told NBC News on Thursday. "After speaking with me, I told him that I wanted to notify law enforcement so that we would have no issue."
Laundrie's remains were found almost exactly a month after Petito's body was discovered. An extensive manhunt was staged for almost five weeks, with a particular focus on the Carlton Reserve because Laundrie's Ford Mustang was parked at the park, and he was known to go hiking there.
However, the process became extremely difficult due to the swampy conditions, with the park full of alligators and snakes, and much of it underwater.
That said, determining the exact cause of death will be difficult in Laundrie's case as because the longer the remains are left outside, the greater the chances that evidence is lost, Walsh-Haney said.