CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Laundrie remains will be examined by anthropologists after ‘inconclusive’ autopsy

Oct 26, 2021, 7:40 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:21 am
Bodycam footage from the Moab Police Department that shows them talking with Brian Laundrie is seen...
Bodycam footage from the Moab Police Department that shows them talking with Brian Laundrie is seen. Gabby Petito and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie were pulled over by police and talked to separately. On Friday, the attorney for the family of Laundrie released eight pages from Laundrie's notebook that was found near his body. Moab Police Department

NORTH PORT, Florida — The remains of Brian Laundrie are reportedly going to an anthropologist after medical examiners in Florida says they can’t find a specific cause of death.  So, what can anthropologists see that coroners can’t? 

According to NBC News, the family of Brian Laundrie says his remains are going to an anthropologist for “further evaluation.”  The family attorney says Laundrie will be cremated after the evaluation is complete, but they haven’t been given any timeline on when that will happen.

Relying on anthropologists

Experts in Utah say medical examiners rely on anthropologists all the time to provide a more complete picture of what happened before and after a person died.  For instance, Utah Chief Medical Examiner Erik Christensen says he can spot things like fractures or other injuries on bones. However, that doesn’t tell the full story of what happened to someone before and after they died.

He asked, “When was this sustained?  Is this something that happened while the person was alive, since they died or since they’ve been skeletonized?”

Christensen says anthropologists are better equipped to answer questions like that.

“Most of the time, that’s something we defer to them about,” he said.

Although Laundire’s family says the results were inconclusive, that doesn’t mean investigators will never know how he died. 

“That could mean a lot of things.  It could just mean, also, we need more things to make a conclusion,” Christensen said.

Laundrie remains

Investigators describe Laundrie’s remains as “skeletal,” and they were able to confirm his identity through dental records.  Christensen says decomposition can be a significant hindrance to a medical examiner’s work. And decomposition happens faster in the swamps of Florida.

“War weather accelerates that.  Access to animals and predators accelerates that,” he said.

Investigators are trying to quash any rumors about DNA samples taken from the site where the remains were found not matching Brian Laundrie.  Officials say the rumors are completely false.

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Laundrie remains will be examined by anthropologists after ‘inconclusive’ autopsy