Manhunt extends for weeks for Brian Laundry
North Port, Fla. – Two weeks after Gabby Pettito found out she was a . was a victim of HomicideRenowned forensic pathologist Dr. Michael Baden told Granthshala News that the FBI’s decision to withhold his remains from his family was “very unusual,” as was the agency’s decision that he died when the method was announced. The reason was not released.
Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue found in his initial determination that 22-year-old Petito was the victim of a homicide, the FBI’s Denver field office announced Sept. 21. His body was found near Grand Teton National Park. Wyoming on 19 September.
But the office stopped short of disclosing the cause of death pending final autopsy results, and days went by without the agency releasing his remains to the family — a move that Granthshala News contributor Baden called “very unusual.”
“What they are saying, whatever they found, they have denied accidents, suicides or natural deaths that could have caused it.”
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“I think the FBI will be very cautious about things because they don’t want to make a mistake,” he told Granthshala News. “For whatever reason they’re stopping, it’s very unusual.”
she added: “I think the only reason would be that you’re worried that you’re missing something, but that shouldn’t be a concern, because from the medical examiner’s point of view whatever would be necessary to investigate the death would be seen, can be documented and maintained.”
Baden said, if a pathologist is questioning whether someone is suffering from heart disease, he or she will maintain the heart — “but you don’t keep the whole body.”
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“In 2021,” he added, “where anything of value can be documented[ed], retained, tested on day one or two or three, there is no reason to keep the whole body away from the family.”
Rick Stafford, a spokesman for Petito’s family, did not respond to requests Monday and Tuesday about whether they were eventually reunited with the victim’s remains. Blue did not respond to Granthshala News’ inquiries and the FBI declined to comment.
Baden, who served as chief medical examiner in New York City and chief forensic pathologist for the New York State Police, has been involved in high-profile cases including the ongoing investigation into the death of Jeffrey Epstein. He also served as chairman of the House Select Committee on the Forensic Pathology Panel of the Murders.
He said the authorities “reversed” what agencies usually do in issuing the manner of death before cause.
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“Usually if one thinks of other deaths, high-profile or not, the cause of death comes to the fore. Sometimes, sometimes death’s way is blocked,” he said.
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For example, Baden explained, a person taking an overdose of a drug can die as a result of an accident, suicide, or murder.
Baden is not involved in the investigation into Petito’s death. Generally speaking, when asked whether the release of the victim’s manner of death means that the cause is already known, he replied: “Yes.”
He continued: “Now, what they’re saying is, whatever they’ve found, they’ve ruled out accidents, suicides or natural deaths that could have caused it.”
Brian Laundry and Petito began a cross-country trip in mid-June with plans to visit the national parks in a converted white Ford Transit van. He got his local. started dating years ago after I met Long Island, New York, He moved to North Port, Florida to live with his parents in high school and laundry.
Officials said 1 month after starting their journey, Laundry returned to the North Port home in the couple’s van, but without Petito. The young woman was not reported missing until 10 days later, on September 11, when her mother notified police in Suffolk County, New York. The officers later confiscated the van from the laundry house.
Laundry was later named a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance. He is absconding, and the FBI has issued an arrest warrant for bank charge fraud. He has not been charged in his death.
Friends, family and the public paid tribute during the September 26 celebrations on Long Island.
Speaking during the service, Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, called his daughter “the most wonderful person ever.”
“I want you to see these photos, and I want you to be inspired by Gabby,” he said on the service. “If there’s a trip you guys want to take, take it now. When you have time, do it now. If there’s a relationship you’re in that might not be the best thing for you, leave it for now. “
Granthshala News’ Paul Best contributed to this report.