First Thing: Brian Laundrie killed himself, autopsy report shows | US news


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Brian Laundrie, whose disappearance sparked a nationwide manhunt in September after his fiancee, Gabby Petito, went missing and was later found murdered, killed himself, an autopsy report released yesterday revealed.

Laundrie’s remains were found in a Florida wilderness area in October, a month after Petito, 22, was found strangled to death on the edge of Wyoming’s Grand Teton national park, where the couple had been travelling together in a van.

The 23-year-old was named a person of interest in the case after he returned to his parents’ home in Florida alone in early September, then disappeared himself.

Petito’s parents reported her missing on 11 September, three days before Laundrie’s family said he left their house in North Port with a backpack but left behind his wallet and cell phone.

  • Did he leave a suicide note? The FBI has been searching for clues among belongings found near Laundrie’s body, including a water-damaged notebook, but is yet to release a statement on the progress of its investigation.

  • What have his parents said? “Chris and Roberta are still mourning the loss of their son and are hopeful that these findings bring closure to both families,” Steven Bertolino, the attorney for Laundrie’s parents, said.

US hospitals prepare for influx of Covid patients as millions travel for Thanksgiving

Passengers queuing at Logan airport in Boston.
Passengers queuing at Logan airport in Boston. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

As cases begin increasing once more in the US, millions of people are expected to travel for the Thanksgiving holiday, and health workers and hospital systems are now preparing for an influx of Covid patients after having little time to recover from the summer surge.

Last year, there was a jump in cases around the holidays. But this year, new tools could blunt the spread – if they are taken up quickly.

US scientific agencies on Friday recommended boosters for all adults six months after receiving an mRNA vaccination, and children over the age of five recently became eligible for vaccines.

  • How many people have Covid? More than 92,000 Americans are now testing positive for Covid-19 each day, and more than 1,000 people are dying from the virus every day, according to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

  • Which parts of the US are most affected? Cases are rising in a majority of states, with hotspots in the midwest, north-east and parts of the south-west.

What is happening with US inflation, and how worried should you be?

Alcohol is one commodity that has has fallen in price recently: a bar in Marietta, Georgia, says its beer is cheaper than gasoline. Photograph: Erik S Lesser/EPA

Jobs are coming back, wages are rising, stock markets are hitting record highs. In many ways, the US economy is booming. And yet as we officially enter the holiday season, consumer confidence is at its lowest level in a decade. The reason? Inflation.

The US inflation rate in October was the highest it has been since the early 90s, when Nirvana released Smells Like Teen Spirit and the Gulf war was just beginning.

But should we be worried? The Federal Reserve – and the Biden administration – think rising prices are “transitory”, caused by the hangover from the pandemic. Their critics are less sure.

  • What is inflation? Inflation describes a general rise in the level of prices of all consumer goods and services. It is not specific to a particular good or service; rather it is a measure of when, broadly, things are more expensive than they were.

  • What’s happening with inflation? According to CPI numbers released in mid-November, prices in the US rose 6.2% in October compared with the same time last year.

A child injured in the Waukesha parade has died, bringing the death toll to six

A sign is displayed at a memorial to the victims of the Waukesha Christmas parade.
A sign is displayed at a memorial to the victims of the Waukesha Christmas parade. Photograph: Cheney Orr/Reuters

A child has died after suffering head injuries when an SUV was driven through a Christmas parade in Waukesha, Wisconsin, bringing the death toll to six, said prosecutors.

The child was one of 16 children admitted to the Children’s hospital of Wisconsin, officials said in a news release. He has been named on a Go Fund Me page as eight-year-old Jackson Sparks. His 12-year-old brother was injured.

A member of his family said: “Tucker, by the grace of God is miraculously recovering from his injuries and will be being discharged home. This afternoon, our dear Jackson has sadly succumbed to his injuries and passed away.”

  • Has the suspect been charged? Prosecutors in Wisconsin charged Darrell Brooks Jr yesterday with intentional homicide in the deaths of five people. More charges are pending.

  • Did he appear in court? He made his initial appearance in court yesterday. He could be heard crying during the proceedings.

In other news …

Insurrectionists outside the US Capitol on 6 January.
Insurrectionists outside the US Capitol on 6 January. Photograph: José Luis Magaña/AP
  • The House select committee investigating the Capitol attack on Tuesday issued subpoenas to the…

Read More:First Thing: Brian Laundrie killed himself, autopsy report shows | US news

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