Gabby Petito’s devastated family have been robbed of answers over their beloved daughter’s death following confirmation that boyfriend Brian Laundrie’s bones have been found in a Florida swamp, one of her close friends told Dailymail.com.
‘You don’t know – did they get in a fight, did he kill her? There’s no answer,’ said the friend.
‘She’s gone now. He’s gone. Who’s really got closure? You don’t get closure because you don’t know what happened.’
The FBI today confirmed skeletal remains found inside the vast alligator-infested Carlton Reserve are those of Laundrie, 23 – the sole person of interest in the murder of strangled van-life girl Gabby, 22.
Minutes before the news broke, two police officers from Laundrie’s home town of North Port, Florida, arrived at the home he shared with parents Christopher, 62, and Roberta, 55.
This is the moment a police officer arrived at Chris Laundrie’s home to inform him that a body discovered Wednesday was that of his son Brian
Gabby’s mom Nicole Schmidt weeps and is comforted by her husband Jim Schmidt last month. Schmidt and Petito’s dad Joe fear the discovery of Brian Laundrie’s body means they’ll never find out more about why their daughter was murdered
Gabby’s dad Joe, pictured in blue, repeatedly urged Laundrie to turn himself in, but now faces being left with questions about what led to his daughter’s murder in August
His father opened the door after the solemn officers knocked twice – and Dailymail.com photos show his stunned face as he confronts the reality of his son’s death.
The remains were discovered while the Laundries themselves looked in menacing reserve along with two FBI agents early Wednesday morning.
Nearby was their son’s backpack, another bag and a note book which ‘could be salvageable’ according to a source speaking to CNN – and maybe provide vital answers to the tragedy of Gabby.
‘It had clearly been wet and they are going to use any potential means to dry that out before opening it,’ the source said. ‘They will be very careful with it.’
Meanwhile the Laundries’ own grief is mixed with possible overall justice, according to Gabby’s friend from Long Island, New York, where she went to high school.
Petito vanished during a road trip across the US with Laundrie in August, with her remains found in Wyoming in September. Laundrie’s body was found Wednesday, with his remains identified on Thursday
‘Brian’s not here, so has justice been served?’ he asked. ‘If you did something like murder and justice is the death penalty, then justice is served here. The difference is you save the taxpayers a whole lot of money.’
However he insisted this is a tragedy all round.
‘Both sides are suffering right now. Nobody wishes this on any of their children. It’s a sad turn of events.’
Of Petito’s family, he said, ‘I hope they feel some justice. And hopefully they can take this as some form of closure. Me, as a parent, I’d still want to know what happened. That’s the piece that sucks.’
Gabby’s heartbroken family have only recently been able to collect their murdered daughter’s remains. Mom Nichole Schmidt, stepdad Jim Schmidt, dad Joe Petito and stepmom Tara made the devastating trip to a funeral home in Jackson, Wyoming, last week.
It was only a few days after Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue announced Gabby had been manually strangled before being dumped close to a remote campsite in Grand Teton National Park.
The remote site where the blogger’s body was discovered on September 19 has become a shrine to Petito, complete with a stone cross dotted with flowers.
Gabby’s parents pleaded for Laundrie to come forward while he was missing, with the discovery of his body sparking fears they’ll never discover why their daughter was strangled
Gabby’s family retrieved the white boxes containing her ashes from the the ashes from Valley Mortuary in Jackson, Wyoming, last week
Gabby’s father Joseph Petito clutches the ashes of his murdered daughter in Wyoming on October 16, after her remains were found at a nearby campsite on September 19
Nicole Schmidt, Gabby’s mother, seen in Jackson along with and her husband, Jim Schmidt, who flew from New York to Wyoming last week
Dr. Blue refused to provide additional details about the autopsy’s findings including: if her body was buried, whether any drugs were found in her system and whether she was killed in the same spot her body was found.
The three to four weeks her body was believed to be in the wilderness, however, put her death around the August 27-30 period investigators believe Petito and Laundrie had traveled to the area.
Only this week, Gabby’s mom had said she wanted ‘coward’ Laundrie to spend the rest of his life ‘in a cell’.
Nichole, who reported Gabby missing on September 11 after losing contact with her, said she thought her daughter would be safe with Laundrie on their trip in her 2012 white Ford Transit van.
But her view changed to that of branding him a cold-blooded killer who was being protected by his parents, who refused to talk to her.
‘Silence speaks volumes,’ she told 60 Minutes Australia. Of the parents, she said: ‘I believe they know most of the information. I would love to just face to face ask, “Why are you doing this? Just tell me the truth.”
‘He’s a coward. I don’t want to say he’s insane because he went home, he’s hiding, he used her credit card. That’s not somebody who’s gone crazy.
‘He knows what he is doing, he knew what he was doing. I just want to get him in a cell for the rest of his life.’
Her husband Jim added: ‘We want vengeance. And justice.’
Petito and Laundrie were on a cross-country road trip when she vanished in late August
Her mother added: ‘I hope she didn’t suffer and that she wasn’t in any pain.
‘That she was in a place she wanted to be, looking at the beautiful mountains. This was evil. She was taken at somebody else’s hand. It’s not fair.’
The FBI-led hunt for Laundrie at the menacing Carlton Reserve appeared to have been scaled down this week before a new flurry of activity in which law enforcement in tactical gear and rifles returned there.
Laundrie’s parents had told cops he was heading to the reserve when he left their home on September 13 – two days after Gabby’s mom reported her missing. He had returned from a cross-country road trip with Gabby to Utah and Wyoming without her on September 1.
The survivalist liked to hike in the reserve and the attached Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, where he left his silver Ford Mustang convertible.
And the beginning of the end came on Wednesday when the Laundries left their home at 7am and headed to the environmental park. They were met there by two FBI agents before going over a bridge and into the reserve together, spreading out either side of a trail.
Within a short time, Christopher found a bag belonging to Brian and the notebook outside it, while the officers found his backpack. Shortly after that skeletal remains were discovered and search teams continue to look for clues.
The Laundries’ lawyer Steve Bertolino went on CNN to describe the couple’s search and discoveries.
He said: ‘As they went further in, Chris ventured off the trail into the woods. He was zigzagging in different areas, law enforcement was doing the same thing. And Roberta Laundrie was walking down the trail.
‘At some point, Chris locates what’s called a dry bag. The dry bag is a white bag, laying in the woods, say 20 feet or so off the trail.’
‘He did meet up shortly with law enforcement, they looked at the contents of the bag. At that time, law enforcement officers showed him a picture on the phone of a backpack that law enforcement had located also nearby and also some distance off the trail.
‘At that point, the Laundries were notified there was also remains near the backpack, and they were asked to leave the preserve’
The reserve was badly flooded during most of the time during the massive search of the swampland, which began five weeks ago. It is understood the area where the Laundries visited was a favorite spot of their son and flooding there had recently receded.