TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – The Brian Laundrie autopsy included several answers about the final moments of his life, but the report prompted a big question for internet sleuths who seem obsessed with the case.
The remains of 23-year-old Laundrie, of North Port, were found in late October in Carlton Reserve about a mile from the environmental park’s entrance in an area that had been about 3 feet underwater during the rainy season, according to investigators.
The FBI said a notebook found near the remains included a confession that Laundrie killed 22-year-old Gabby Petito, whose body had been found in Wyoming in late September. She had been strangled, the coroner in that state said.
The young couple had set out on a journey through the middle of the country in late July, chronicling their trip with joyful pictures, videos and blog posts.
The autopsy revealed Laundrie died by suicide and used a .38 caliber revolver, with the deadly projectile found buried in about 6 inches of soil 50 to 60 feet from his remains. The gun had two rounds left in the chamber.
The skeleton was “near complete,” the report stated, but had been scattered a bit by “carnivore activity.” A toxicology report completed this month stated Laundrie had no drugs in his system.
In addition to Laundrie’s much talked about journal, a wooden box that held pictures and a small notebook was also found at the scene, as well as a “handwritten, half note.” A white metal ring was recovered there too.
Jennifer Coffindaffer, who served 25 years in the FBI, was brief when asked if she had ever seen a case like the Laundrie-Petito saga.
“No,” she said.
Most startling to Coffindaffer was the determination that Laundrie shot himself in the left side of his head, despite indications in the autopsy he “was right hand dominant.”
“That was bothersome,” she said. “Because it does not fit with a right-handed person committing suicide with their off-hand.”
In her opinion, that fact suggests three possibilities. The first is Laundrie could have been ambidextrous.
“Or he used his left hand because he was holding something like a picture in his right hand,” she said.
The third possibility Coffindaffer offered could no doubt stir up the social media sleuths. She said it could also mean Laundrie was assisted in the suicide.
“I’m not a conspiracy theorist at all but I cannot ignore facts, nor can I ignore statistics,” she said. “And statistics would say a predominantly right-handed person does not commit suicide with their left hand.”
That part of this remarkable story that captured the attention of the world has legs, according to Coffindaffer.
“Certainly, for the social media sleuths,” she said. “To me, the case doesn’t end because it ends with a question mark. How or why did he use his non-dominant hand to shoot himself.”
As far as what was in the notebook, journal and even the half note – Coffindaffer said the best chance for the public to see any of that evidence would be in the civil case.
“That evidence belongs to the next of kin,” she said.
A civil trial would make that evidence public if it’s admitted in court.