Based on where authorities discovered Brian Laundrie’s body on Oct. 20, he’d likely become a skeleton in under two weeks.
Forensic anthropologist Dr. Erin Kimmerle spoke to The Sun about the rate of decomposition in a place like Myahhahatchee Creek Environmental Park. The Florida park is where the authorities found partial human remains matching Laundrie’s dental records. The area where they found the body had previously been underwater due to storms.
“Human remains exposed on the open ground surface, with free access by predators and the heat, can decompose in as little as a week in Florida,” Kimmerle told the outlet. “While water will slow the process down a little, it is still common to see skeletonization in less than two weeks.”
Brian Laundrie’s autopsy results initially came back inconclusive, providing more questions than answers as to how and when he died. Kimmerle said certain actions, such as predators eating the body, should be very visible on the discovered bones.
“Skeletal remains often show damage due to vultures, possums, and other scavengers,” Kimmerle said. “However, such damage is easily distinguished from injuries resulting from inflicted trauma.”
Inflicted trauma could include harm that Brian Laundrie inflicted upon himself. Many people suspect that Laundrie killed himself in the Florida park after authorities started looking for him for questioning about Gabby Petito. She and Laundrie dated and traveled across the country together in a van. Her family reported her missing on Sept. 11, and her body showed up in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Sept. 19.
Coroners ruled her death a homicide via manual strangulation. Laundrie only ever became a person of interest, not a suspect, in the case. But he disappeared on Sept. 13, two days after Petito’s family reported her missing. Authorities searched for Laundrie for over a month before discovering his partial remains.
Expert Believes Police Have ‘Strong Case’ For Murder-Suicide With Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito Deaths
While talking to The Sun, Dr. Erin Kimmerle revealed how she believes Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito’s deaths are “linked” in a murder-suicide situation.
“There seems to be an overwhelming amount of evidence linking the two cases, including a history of domestic violence,” Kimmerle said. “Add to that, witnesses who place them together, the well-documented timeline, GPS data from their cars, and cell phone records. It seems there is a strong circumstantial case for a murder-suicide.”
After the autopsy results for Laundrie came back inconclusive, authorities sent them on to forensic anthropologists. They’ll analyze the remains and look for further clues as to how he could’ve died.
According to The Sun, Kimmerle said that “The scene, evidence at the scene, and the skeletal injuries themselves” will help indicate a cause of death.
“Time since death is estimated as the last time the person was seen alive. The question is, is the level of decomposition consistent with that time frame. And in this case, it is,” Kimmerle said.