‘Strong probability’ human remains found in FBI search are fugitive Brian Laundrie
Human remains have been found in a Florida park in the search for the missing fiance of murdered US blogger Gabby Petito.
The FBI confirmed that partial remains were discovered inside the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on Wednesday (20 October) close to where items belonging to Brian Laundrie were found.
Mr Laundrie, 23, is a person of interest in his partner’s death and has been missing for more than a month after returning to Florida from a joint trip without her.
Ms Petito, 22, disappeared in September and her body was found in western Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest on 19 September following a cross-country trip with Laundrie.
The coroner ruled her death as a homicide in preliminary findings.
Mr Laundrie was last seen on 14 September and is wanted by authorities looking to question him over the muder of his girlfriend.
Has Brian Laundrie been found?
In a news conference, FBI special agent Michael McPherson confirmed that “what appears to be human remains” have been discovered in the search for Mr Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve area.
He said the remains were found alongside some personal items of the 23-year-old, including a backpack and a notebook.
McPherson said: “These items were found in an area that up until recently had been underwater.”
While officials have not confirmed the remains belong to Mr Laundrie, the Laundrie family lawyer Steven Bertolino has said that there is a “strong possibility” that it is him.
Speaking to CNN, Bertolino said: “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.”
The medical examiner said it may take a few days to complete the identification of the remains and officials say a search of the area is still ongoing.
What happened to Gabby Petito?
Mr Laundrie and Ms Petito were travelling in a van on a cross country trek to visit the national parks of the US West.
However, after leaving in July Mr Laundrie suddenly drove the van back to his parents’ home in North Port Florida alone.
Mr Petito was reported missing after 10 days and her last known contact with her family was on 25 August, when she was in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
The couple had been documenting the trip online, but Ms Petito’s regular social media updates abruptly ceased in late August.
It has been confirmed that Mr Laundrie and his parents spent two days camping at the Fort De Soto Park on 6 September.
The significance of this camping trip has been called into question, as it was around the same time that Ms Petito’s mother was trying to contact Mr Laundrie and his mother to understand why communication with her daughter had suddenly stopped.
After Ms Petito was reported missing, Mr Laundrie’s lawyer released a statement which said that his client would not be speaking to authorities “on the advice of counsel”.
Before Mr Laundrie’s disappearance, he avoided the authorities and did not divulge any information about what happened on the trip.