After more than a month of widespread searching, wanted fugitive Brian Laundrie was confirmed dead last week.
It was a frustrating conclusion to the manhunt, creating new questions while answering very few.
One of the first experts to review Brian’s remains was the medical examiner.
With the autopsy results inconclusive, it will take a particular kind of specialist to piece together how Brian met his end.
On Sunday, Steven Bertolino spoke to People about how both investigators and the Laundrie family are processing Brian’s passing.
First, the autopsy came back inconclusive.
While these are likely preliminary results, it does mean that there is no obvious cause of death — as there was for Gabby Petito’s murder.
"No manner or cause of death was determined," the attorney hired by the Laundries reported.
"And the remains," he added, "were sent to an anthropologist for further evaluation."
A forensic anthropologist is a specialist in remains too old or otherwise degraded for a conventional autopsy to bear fruit.
Eventually, investigators will be done with Brian’s remains and will likely turn them over to the Laundrie family.
Bertolino shared that the "remains will be cremated."
"And," the attorney added, "there will be no funeral service."
The lack of a funeral service may be, in part, a practical concern — out of fear of controversy, protesters, and photographers.
It is also possible that there will be a private memorial in some form that is not made public.
After all, Bertolino is speaking as the family’s representative, not as an officer of the court, here. He doesn’t have to disclose anything.
But the lack of a conclusive cause of death, the circumstances of the remains being found, and the lack of funeral point to one thing.
It sounds like Brian’s remains were in very poor shape.
You don’t have to be identified by dental records, generally, if your face or hands are still there.
Between the controversy and the state of the body, a funeral would be awkward.
Closed casket funerals exist, but someone as infamous as Brian would attract attention even in death.
A cemetary plot is expensive, and could become the worst kind of tourist attraction.
Cremation is a logical conclusion when it comes to partial human remains of an infamous amn.
Technically, the 23-year-old fugitive was only wanted for using Gabby Petito’s bank card after her murder.
However, it was expencted that he would face numerous other, more serious charges upon his capture.
Before Brian’s remains were discovered in Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, he had not been seen in over a month.
He was reported missing by his family on September 15, less than a week before Gabby’s own remains were found.
Unlike Brian’s examination, the autopsy of Gabby Petito quickly determined that she died by homicide, and concluded that the manner of death was strangulation.
Late last week, Bertolino shared that Brian Laundrie was visibly distressed when his family last saw him.
"Yes, Brian was upset when he left," the attorney illustrated.
"And," Bertolini shared, "he was not able to be persuaded not to leave the house."
There are many who suspect that Brian may have taken his own life, either immediately or shortly after going into hiding.
Others wonder if he died of natural causes, as Brian would have faced numerous hazards — from disease to hunger to alligators.
Conspiracy theorists have also suggested that he was given assitance but that someone helping him later murdered him. Hopefully, the anthropologist can provide answers.