On Wednesday, human remains were found in a Florida nature park where police and the FBI had been conducting the hunt for Brian Laundrie. Officials have not yet confirmed that it is Laundrie. FBI confirmed Laundrie’s possessions have been found at the scene, including a notebook and a backpack.
These discoveries are just the latest twist in the search for Laundrie, who is a person of interest wanted for questioning about the death of his girlfriend, Gabby Petito, whose body was found on September 19. A coroner’s report determined Petito’s death was a homicide by manual strangulation.
Laundrie came home from a cross-country trip with Petito in September and she wasn’t with him. It was then reported that he went hiking at Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park not long after that.
“Earlier today investigators found what appears to be human remains along with personal items such as a backpack and notebook belonging to Brian Laundrie,” Michael McPherson, agent-in-charge of the FBI Tampa field office, said during a press conference at the scene.
“These items were found in an area that up until recently have been underwater,” McPherson said. “Our evidence response team is on scene, using all available forensic resources to process the area. It’s likely the team will be on scene for several days.”
McPherson took no questions and gave no more details.
Officials brought in a cadaver dog to the scene after the remains were found, and then a tent was put up.
The Laundrie family attorney, Steven Bertolino, said that Brian’s belongings were found Wednesday at the park. Laundrie’s parents arrived in the morning.
WTSP reported that the park, which was reopened to the public on Tuesday, was closed once again after the remains were discovered.
The Federal Aviation Administration also declared a portion of the park a no-fly zone during the investigation, with the restriction to be lifted on Friday.
“Chris and Roberta went to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park this morning to search for Brian,” Bertolino wrote in an email. “The FBI and (North Port Police Department) were informed last night of Brian’s parents’ intentions and they met Chris and Roberta there this morning.
“After a brief search off a trail that Brian frequented, some articles belonging to Brian were found. As of now law enforcement is conducting a more thorough search of that area,” Bertolino added.
In a follow-up message, Bertolino said the remains were found “in an area where (Laundrie’s parents) had initially advised law enforcement that Brian may be.”
“Chris and Roberta will wait for the forensic identification of the human remains before making any additional comments,” he said.
After Laundrie returned to his Florida home driving Petito’s van without her, he told his parents he was going on a hike at the Carlton Reserve. After that, he never came home again.
Since Laundrie was named a person of interest, authorities have been searching for him since September 18 for a federal arrest warrant over using Petito’s stolen bank card after she went missing.
After Gabby Petito’s remains were discovered in a Wyoming park on September 19, Laundrie was then named a person of interest in the 22-year-old Long Island native’s homicide.
Laundrie’s parents headed to the park about 7:15 am where two men in hiking gear started following them according to Fox News. One of the men following them identified himself as a law enforcement officer, who allegedly told the couple, “I think we might have found something.”
Fox reported that Brian’s parents found a white bag and some other object as they were walking around the area. They were seen putting the object they picked up into the bag and then handing it over to the officer.
The officer was then seen patting Chris on the shoulder as the couple were using their phones. It sounds like they know it was Brian’s body, but officials haven’t yet declared anything.
Both Petito’s and Laundrie’s parents deserve answers. Unfortunately, if the remains found are Brian’s, they may never know what really happened. It’s a sad story all the way round.