December 6, 2021

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Human remains found in Florida reserve confirmed to be Brian Laundrie, FBI says – NBC News

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Partial remains found by authorities searching for Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito’s fiancé, were confirmed to be his after a review of dental records.

The remains were found in Florida’s Carlton Reserve on Wednesday after more than a month of searching for Laundrie, who was declared a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance before her body was found in Wyoming. The FBI field office in Denver announced that the remains were positively identified Thursday.

A spokesperson for the North Port Police told NBC News earlier Thursday that the remains were “skeletal.”

According to the FBI, the remains were found alongside personal items, such as a backpack and a notebook, belonging to Laundrie.

“These items were found in an area that up until recently had been under water,” Michael McPherson, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Tampa office, said Wednesday.

Laundrie’s parents helped lead the FBI and North Port police to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, according to Steven Bertolino, an attorney for the Laundrie family.

“Chris and Roberta Laundrie were at the reserve earlier today when human remains and some of Brian’s possessions were located in an area where they had initially advised law enforcement that Brian may be,” he said in another statement Wednesday evening.

Bertolino said in a phone interview with CNN on Wednesday night that “the probability is strong that it is Brian’s remains, but we’re going to wait for the forensic results [to] come in and verify that.”

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie.@gabspetito / via Instagram

The Carlton Reserve and neighboring Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park are short drives north of the Laundrie family home.

Petito and Laundrie were traveling across the country, chronicling their journey in their van on social media, before Laundrie returned to his parents’ North Port home without her Sept. 1, authorities have said.

During the search for Petito, 22, police in Moab City, Utah, released body camera video capturing a distraught Petito after an alleged physical altercation with Laundrie.

Petito’s body was discovered Sept. 19 at the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. Petito had been dead for at least three weeks and her death was ruled a homicide by “manual strangulation,” the coroner said.

Laundrie has been missing since mid-September when his parents said he went hiking in the Carlton Reserve and never returned. The 25,000-acre wildlife refuge was closed for extensive searches of the area and only reopened Tuesday.

An arrest warrant was issued for Laundrie after authorities said he used Petito’s debit card without permission. He has not been charged in her death and remains a person of interest in the case.

Pei-Sze Cheng reported from North Port, Florida. Doha Madani contributed from New York City.

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