A forensic pathologist has addressed conspiracy theories surrounding the skeletonised body of Brian Laundrie.
Laundrie’s remains were discovered in Florida’s Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on October 20, and were identified using his dental records.
However, some of those discussing the case online have shared unfounded doubts and concerns over the condition of Laundrie’s body, with particular suspicions raised about its skeletal condition.
Some amateur sleuths believe that the length of time between Laundrie’s reported disappearance and discovery of his body means there wouldn’t have been time for such an advanced state of decomposition to set in.
This in turn sparked baseless theories about the 23-year-old’s remains having been ‘planted’ at the scene, with some even arguing that Laundrie is in fact still alive, well and living undercover as a cop.
Now, Dr Wolf, a forensic pathologist who runs forensic-focused TikTok channel The Dead Letter has explained exactly how, under certain conditions, human remains can be skeletonised at a much quicker rate that the average true crime buff might expect.
Dr Wolf ‘felt the need to comment’ on this case in order to clarify a few key facts about skeletonised remains, using his trusty Medicolegal Investigation of Death textbook (‘the bible of forensic pathology’) for reference.
Check it out below:
Having seen ‘many, many decomposed bodies and skeletonised remains’ thoughout the course of his career, Dr Wolf explained how there are ‘many factors that go into that process of decomposition’.
You can’t just Google ‘how long does it take for a body to decompose?’ and get a correct answer, because there are so many variables.
Dr Wolf explained that this list of variables would include temperature, noting that ‘if the temperature was warm, decomposition will progress more rapidly’. The number of insects and animals within the area will also hasten the process, as will humid or wet environments.
Opening his copy of Medicolegal Investigation of Death, Dr Wolf turned to Chapter III: Time of Death and Anatomical Changes After Death, referring specifically to Part I: Anatomical Considerations.
Dr Wolf said:
So although skeletisation can take months, let’s go to this paragraph, ‘under most favourable conditions, particularly with necrophagous insect activity’ – this means insects that eat dead flesh – skeletisation may occur even earlier.
The MD then went on to refer to the homicide case of a 13-year-old girl from Mississippi, ‘whose body became almost completely skeletonised within ten days during late summer’.
As pointed out by Dr Wolf, Laundrie’s remains were also found in a ‘fairly warm climate’ with ‘lots of bugs, water, lots of animals’ meaning the condition of his body wouldn’t have been surprising to experts in the field.
Dr Wolf, who noted that ‘sunlight makes it all worse’, said:
So it’s possible and maybe even expected that the body would be skeletonised within a few days, especially when you consider animals like birds and gators and turtles and things like that which will nibble away at flesh.
He also went on to note that body identification by dental records is ‘very reliable’, despite online rumours, especially if the person in question had undergone ‘a lot of dental work’.
You can find out more about Dr Wolf here.
An FBI hotline has been set up for anyone who has information on Gabby Petito. Call 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324).
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677