NewsSarasota, Manatee County


Retired FBI special agent weighs in on investigation into Brian Laundrie's death

Brian Laundrie.png
Posted at 9:10 PM, Oct 22, 2021

NORTH PORT, FLA.- — After nearly a month long search for Brian Laundrie, the FBI announced it located human remains inside the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in North Port.

Numerous law enforcement agencies including the North Port Police Department searched the nature park and the nearby Carlton Reserve.

The search started after Laundrie's parents reported him missing in September to law enforcement. His parents said he went on a hike and did not return.

Officials have not released the cause of death for Laundrie, but identified his remains through dental records.

"It's the quickest and that's why we got that answer so rapidly yesterday. It is not the gold standard that would be DNA, but I'm quite confident that medical examiner's office in Sarasota is continuing to do that test as well," said retired FBI Special Agent Brian Kensel.

Brian Kensel, a retired FBI Special Agent in Tampa, has more than 30 years of experience. He worked on "violent crimes" like bank robberies, kidnappings and extortions. He helped capture fugitives.

Kensel said it will be more difficult, but not impossible to determine a cause of death from skeletal remains.

"The coroner of course already knows what he or she has to work with," said Kensel.

According to the FBI, authorities located a backpack and a notebook belonging to Laundrie.

"It was probably a paper notebook, if that was the case and it was underwater, right now what is happening is the FBI is very, very carefully drying that out and will not open it for fear of damaging any content until they got it dried and then very carefully with gloves, open each page," said Kensel.

Kensel said the FBI has a laboratory which is incredible at recovering writing even if the document has been underwater.

"I hope this notebook sheds light on the questions on which we all want answers," he said.

Laundrie remains the only "person of interest" in the homicide of his fiance, Gabby Petito. In September, authorities discovered Petito's remains near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Officials said she died by strangulation.

"Wyoming has every restrictive laws as far as what they can release from a medical examiners office from an autopsy exam. Fortunately, Florida is not as restrictive in that regard so we will have more information about Mr. Laundrie's death than we may have about Ms. Petito's death, said Kensel.

Kensel said an exact time or day of death will not be known.

"It will be by expectation that the coroner gives a window of time of death that will be closer to the five weeks that he has been missing rather than most recent as a week or two, the skeletal remains support that," he said.

"They will also continue the investigation to try and determine if Mr. Laundrie was responsible for Gabby Petito's death."