Gregg Jarrett: Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito and the challenges of proving a murder
4 min read
As frustrating as it may seem as the Gabby Petito case has unfolded, Laundrie had a constitutional right against self-incrimination in his decision not to talk with police during the investigation.
NEW You can now listen to Fox News articles! The news was heartbreaking and what everyone feared. On Sunday, a body believed to be that of a missing woman, Gabby Petito, was found a camping area in Wyoming's Bridger-Teton National Forest, near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, who was traveling with her, has meanwhile vanished. He is now the subject of an intensive search in Florida where the couple lived. Whether law enforcement is officially calling him a suspect in Petito's death is immaterial and nothing more than the parsing of legally-loaded vocabulary. Police and the FBI are certainly treating him as a suspect. And for good reason. Presumptions of innocence aside, if Laundrie is found alive there is a very good chance that he will be criminally charged with her death. But it won't be easy. GABBY PETITO: POLICE DECLARE 'CRIME SCENE' AS FBI ENTERS BRIAN LAUNDRIE'S FLORIDA HOME: LIVE UPDATES Proving a Murder People who act guilty tend to be guilty. With that in mind, let's consider what we know. Laundrie showed up at his parents home in Florida on September 1 with Petito's van, but without her. He then refused to talk with police who were investigating her disappearance as a missing person case. His behavior is beyond suspicious. It's incriminating. However, bringing a murder charge against him and gaining a conviction will depend on both the cause of death and time of death established by the medical examiner. That, in turn, will depend on what is found during the autopsy now scheduled for Tuesday. FBI: HUMAN REMAINS FOUND IN WYOMING LIKELY GABBY PETITO To bring a case against Laundrie, prosecutors must show that it was a homicide (such as strangulation, blunt force trauma, or stabbing) and that her killing occurred at a time when Laundrie could have been with her. The amount of time that has elapsed presents a formidable challenge. TRAVEL…