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Brian Laundrie likely killed himself before authorities even began looking for him, police said, according to a Saturday report from the
Laundrie's partial remains were discovered in Florida's Carlton Reserve following a lengthy manhunt.
What are the details?
Sarasota County Sheriff Kurt Hoffman said that though Laundrie's initial autopsy results were inconclusive, he believed that it was possible Laundrie committed suicide soon after fiancée Gabby Petito's disappearance, later found to be her murder.
Hoffman said that Laundrie, a person of interest in Petito's strangulation killing, most likely took his own life before local authorities began seeking his whereabouts on Sept. 15.
Petito's body was discovered four days later on Sept. 19, and Laundrie's remains were discovered on Oct. 20.
"That guy went out there and by all accounts probably committed suicide, and he was right out there where we thought he was," Hoffman said, according to the outlet. "There was four feet of water out there at the time."
Friday night at a law enforcement panel at the South County Tiger Bay Club, North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison added that his team initially mistook Laundrie's mother — who was wearing a ball cap and carrying a backpack — for her son while keeping watch over the family's home on Sept. 15, leading the agency to believe that Laundrie was at home when he wasn't.
The mistake, according to report, initially led the chief to tell local media that he knew Laundrie's whereabouts, a statement that prompted him to apologize on Friday.
"The surveillance team told me, 'Chief, Brian was seen going inside the house,'" Garrison said. "Now, we know that, by the time we became the lead agency, Brian had already left the house and presumably had already been deceased out in the Carlton Reserve."
He continued, "Later on, we found out that Brian had left the house and now the parents on Friday wanted to report him missing. There was nobody more surprised about that than me. In fact, when my officers went out to the house to do the report with the FBI, I sat with the deputy chief in my office, hoping that they would find Brian hiding in a back bedroom. I was hoping, maybe it was a ploy. It wasn't."
Garrison lauded the department for officers' work.
"I can tell you one thing," Garrison said, "the amount of work that was done, behind the scenes, 24 hours a day, from our team and the FBI team working on the second floor of the police department, was phenomenal work."
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