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Brian Laundrie fatally shot himself in the head, family attorney says

The Florida man had been the subject of a manhunt as investigators searched for clues in the slaying of his girlfriend, Gabby Petito, during a cross-country van trip.
This Aug. 12 file photo from video provided by the Moab, Utah, Police Department shows Brian Laundrie talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with his girlfriend, Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito, near the entrance to Arches National Park in Utah.
This Aug. 12 file photo from video provided by the Moab, Utah, Police Department shows Brian Laundrie talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with his girlfriend, Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito, near the entrance to Arches National Park in Utah. [ AP ]
Published Nov. 23
Updated Nov. 23

MIAMI — An attorney for the family of Brian Laundrie said Tuesday that he fatally shot himself in the head.

Related: Gabby Petito investigation: What happens next now that Brian Laundrie has been found?

Laundrie had been the subject of a manhunt for more than a month as investigators searched for clues in the slaying of his girlfriend, Gabby Petito, during their cross-country van trip together.

This Aug. 12 police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van she was traveling in with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, near the entrance to Arches National Park. The couple was pulled over while they were having an emotional fight. Petito was reported missing by her family a month later.
This Aug. 12 police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van she was traveling in with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, near the entrance to Arches National Park. The couple was pulled over while they were having an emotional fight. Petito was reported missing by her family a month later. [ AP ]

Attorney Steve Bertolino said in a statement that Laundrie’s parents have been informed that the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head, and the manner of death was suicide.

“Chris and Roberta are still mourning the loss of their son and are hopeful that these findings bring closure to both families,” Bertolino said.

Found in a Florida nature preserve, Laundrie’s skeletal remains were positively identified last month using dental records.

In this Sept. 22 file photo, search teams fan out at Carlton Reserve park near North Port to search for Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito.  Petito, 22, was reported missing Sept. 11 by her parents after they she did not respond to calls and texts for several days while the couple visited parks in the West. Her body later was discovered at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
In this Sept. 22 file photo, search teams fan out at Carlton Reserve park near North Port to search for Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito. Petito, 22, was reported missing Sept. 11 by her parents after they she did not respond to calls and texts for several days while the couple visited parks in the West. Her body later was discovered at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. [ AP ]

The discovery of the remains concluded a massive search involving federal, state and local law enforcement that began shortly after Laundrie disappeared Sept. 14, two weeks after the 23-year-old returned alone to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida.

The investigation into Petito’s slaying, however, has not yet concluded. But only Laundrie was ever identified by law enforcement officials as a person of interest in the case.

Petito’s family reported the 22-year-old woman missing Sept. 11, launching a search that garnered worldwide media attention and, in Laundrie’s case, focused largely on the Carlton Reserve wilderness park near the Laundrie home. It is a densely wooded, swampy area that’s home to alligators, coyotes, bobcats, snakes and numerous other creatures.

Petito’s remains were discovered Sept. 19 on the edge of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, one of the places the young couple had visited on the trip they documented through social media videos. Authorities said the body had been there for about a month.

In this Oct. 20 file photo, supporters of Gabby Petito hold up photos of Gabby after a news conference in North Port.
In this Oct. 20 file photo, supporters of Gabby Petito hold up photos of Gabby after a news conference in North Port. [ CHRIS O'MEARA | AP ]

An autopsy in Wyoming concluded Petito died by strangulation and that it was a homicide. Laundrie was listed as a “person of interest” in her killing but he was charged only with fraudulent use of a debit card that was not his.

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By DAVID FISCHER, Associated Press.

This is a developing story. Stay with tampabay.com for updates.