Brian Laundrie's parents file petition in Florida to access his estate

Laundrie family hopes autopsy findings bring ‘closure’ to both families

Senior correspondent Laura Ingle reports on the Brian Laundrie autopsy results revealing the fiancé of Gabby Petito died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

Chris and Roberta Laundrie filed a petition in Sarasota County, Florida, on Wednesday to gain access to the estate of their son, Brian Laundrie, who died by suicide in a nature reserve about five miles from their North Port home.

Brian Laundrie was a person of interest in the disappearance and homicide of his former fiancée, Gabby Petito, who was reported missing on September 11 while the couple was on a cross-country road trip. Her remains were found near Grand Teton National Park on Sept. 19. 

Authorities found Brian’s remains with the help of his parents in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in Florida on Oct. 20, more than a month after he left their home. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. 

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    Images obtained exclusively by Fox News show Chris and Roberta Laundrie in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park with at least one law enforcement officer in October.  (Michael Ruiz/Fox News Digital)

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    (Michael Ruiz/Fox News Digital)

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    (Michael Ruiz/Fox News Digital)

The petition for summary administration that was filed in Sarasota County on Wednesday would allow Brian’s parents to access his estate since he did not have a will, the family’s attorney, Steven Bertolino, told Fox News Digital. 

A local Florida estate attorney listed in court records for the petition, William Galarza, did not respond to a request for comment on Thursday. Bertolino said that he is also still representing the family. 

Neama Rahmani, a former prosecutor who is not associated with the case, explained that a petition for summary administration is necessary when assets are less than $75,000. 

“The estate will consist of Brian’s assets and liabilities,” Rahmani told Fox News Digital. “Any civil wrongful death lawsuit by Gabby’s parents would be filed against Brian’s estate.”

Brian Laundrie as seen in bodycam footage released by the Moab Police Department in Utah.
(Moab Police Department)

Chris and Roberta Laundrie turned over all their firearms to the FBI when they reported their son missing in mid-September, but one was missing, a source familiar with the investigation told Fox News Digital. 

Law enforcement spent weeks searching in the Carlton Reserve and the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, a swampy area just miles from the Laundries’ home. 

Laundrie’s parents joined the search in mid-October and his remains were located along with some of his personal items on Oct. 20. A notebook that was found “may be salvageable,” according to police. 

Petito and Laundrie originally departed North Port for a cross-country road trip in Petito’s converted camper van in June. 

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    Gabby Petito’s remains were found in September after she disappeared while on a road trip with her fiance.  (Joey Petito)

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    (Joey Petito)

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    (Joey Petito)

They made it to Moab, Utah, by August, where they got into a domestic altercation. Moab police chalked the incident up to a “mental health break” and separated them for the night, despite how visibly shaken Petito appeared. 

Petito, whose death was ruled a homicide by strangulation, stopped responding to her family’s messages in late August and Laundrie returned home to North Port in her van without her on Sept. 1. 

In the aftermath of Petito’s death, her family created the Gabby Petito Foundation to assist survivors of domestic abuse and help parents locate missing children. 

Bertolino said last month that Brian’s parents were grieving their son’s death. 

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

Fox News’ Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.

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