Fact check: Remains found in Florida park ID’d as Brian Laundrie’s, not a supposed twin’s
Brian Laundrie: Human remains from Florida park identified by FBI
Laundrie has been named the sole person of interest in the strangulation death of his fiance, blogger Gabby Petito.
USA TODAY, Storyful
The claim: Remains found in Florida park are Brian Laundrie’s twin’s, not his own
A monthlong manhunt for Brian Laundrie, fiancé of travel blogger Gabby Petito whose disappearance and death gripped the nation, came to a close Oct. 21 when partial remains found in Florida’s Carleton Reserve were determined by the FBI to be Laundrie’s. But some on social media aren’t convinced.
“Brian laundrie has a twin I know (it)!” reads an Oct. 21 Facebook post with more than 20 shares and 70 likes in one week. “2 were born one died previously these bones are his twins. … Don’t believe the family narrative or the media narrative this guys not dead and their (sic) is a massive massive cover up.”
A forensic dentist told USA TODAY that dental records, which the FBI used to identify Laundrie, would be different even among identical twins. Laundrie’s only known sibling is Cassie Laundrie.
In response to USA TODAY’s request for comment, the person who made the post said over Facebook Messenger that they are a medium and determined Laundrie is alive under a new identity thanks to collusion between the FBI and Laundrie’s family. There is no evidence to support these claims.
Remains are Laundrie’s
The FBI said in a statement Oct. 21 that a comparison of dental records determined the human remains found at Carleton Reserve are those of Brian Laundrie, ending the search for the missing 23-year-old.
Forensic dentistry is often used to identify remains when decomposition or other circumstances, like fires or natural disasters, make other methods of identification impossible, according to the American Association of Forensic Sciences.
Jim Lewis, a forensic dentist, told USA TODAY that even if Laundrie did have an estranged twin, their dental records would set them apart.
“Although identical twins will be genetically the same, there will still be radiographic morphological (shape) differences in individual tooth root, pulp chamber (nerve) and tooth crown,” Lewis said in an email.
He added that there would be differences in the number and location of dental restorations, like fillings and crowns, the morphology of those restorations and other anatomic features.
“With adequate dental/medical records, positive identification of even identical twins can be performed without difficulty,” Lewis said.
Laundrie’s only known sibling is Cassie Laundrie, who urged her brother to “come forward and get us out of this horrible mess” in an interview with “Good Morning America” while he was missing.
FBI Denver, which is handling the case, declined to comment. Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino did not respond to USA TODAY’s request for comment.
Lookalike sightings frequent during Laundrie search
A number of false sightings while Laundrie was missing likely led some to believe he had a twin.
An unidentified man, who bears a striking resemblance to Laundrie, went viral on TikTok under the handle @notbrianlaundrie after asking for tips on how to tell suspicious passers-by that he isn’t the Florida fugitive.
“I would just like to put all the rumors to bed,” he said in his first video, stitched alongside another video purporting to have spotted Laundrie, presumably showing him.
Another lookalike, Severin Beckwith, was detained at a resort after a concerned Fontana Lake marina employee apparently alerted U.S. Marshals, the New Yorker reported.
But none of those individuals have been identified as blood relatives, much less twins, of Laundrie.
Our rating: False
Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that remains found in a Florida park were those of Brian Laundrie’s twin, and not his own. There is no evidence to support this claim. A forensic dentist told USA TODAY dental records, which the FBI used to identify Laundrie, would be different even among identical twins, and Laundrie only has one known sibling.
Our fact-check sources:
- USA TODAY, Oct. 21, Gabby Petito case: Remains found in Florida park identified as Brian Laundrie, FBI says
- FBI Denver, Oct. 21, Tweet
- American Academy of Forensic Sciences, retrieved Oct. 24, Odontology
- Jim Lewis, Oct. 24, Email interview with USA TODAY
- ABC News, Oct. 5, Brian Laundrie’s sister urges him to ‘come forward’ amid nationwide search
- User @notbrianlaundrie//, retrieved Oct. 24, TikTok profile page
- User @notbrianlaundrie//, Sept. 28, Video
- New Yorker, Oct. 25, Bounty Hunting for Brian Laundrie in a Land of Doppelgängers
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