FBI confirms human remains found are of Brian Laundrie

Boyfriend of Gabby Petito was the main person of interest in her murder

Police tape restricts access to Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in North Port, Florida, where Laundrie's remains were discovered. AFP
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Law enforcement on Thursday confirmed that human remains found this week at a Florida wilderness park were of Brian Laundrie, the primary person of interest in the murder of Gabby Petito.

A lawyer for his parents, Steve Bertolino, also confirmed in a statement they were told the remains were those of their son.

“We have no further comment at this time and we ask that you respect the Laundrie’s privacy at this time,” the statement said.

The discovery of the remains concluded a massive search involving federal, state and local law enforcement that began shortly after Laundrie disappeared September 14, two weeks after the 23-year-old returned alone to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida.

“On October 21, 2021, a comparison of dental records confirmed that the human remains found at the T Mabry Carlton, Jr Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Envrionmental Park are those of Brian Laundrie,” an FBI statement said.

Laundrie’s parents, Chris and Roberta, took part in the search on Wednesday with the FBI and police, more than a month after Laundrie was reported missing after heading into the vast Carlton Reserve park.

“After a brief search off a trail that Brian frequented, some articles belonging to Brian were found,” lawyer Steven Bertolino said in a text to The Associated Press.

A coroner this month said Petito had been killed by strangulation.

Laundrie, 23, was declared a “person of interest” in the case, but was never charged in her murder.

He refused to co-operate with police before disappearing.

Laundrie was charged, however, in a federal Wyoming indictment with unauthorized use of a debit card, which alleged Laundrie used a Capital One Bank card and someone’s personal identification number to make unauthorized withdrawals or charges worth more than $1,000. It does not say to whom the card belonged or what type of charges were made.

Had Laundrie lived, that indictment would have permitted authorities to arrest him.

Police had been searching for Laundrie for weeks, and live television images on Wednesday showed search teams and sniffer dogs at work.

“Items of interest were located at the Carlton Reserve this morning in connection with the search for Brian Laundrie,” FBI Tampa said in a statement earlier in the week.

The body of Petito, 22, lay in the Wyoming wilderness for a month until it was discovered in mid-September.

Petito had quit her job and packed her life into a camper van for a cross-country adventure with Laundrie, starting in July, and they documented their journey in a series of social media posts.

She posted her final photo to Instagram on August 25, the same day she last spoke to her mother by phone. Petito was last seen alive on August 26.

Her family filed a missing-person report on September 11 after she vanished, and Laundrie returned home to Florida without her.

Petito's disappearance captivated the country, first as an internet sensation and then as a tabloid mystery that grew more enigmatic by the day.

It also triggered debate over the disproportionate attention afforded to missing white women.

Agencies contributed to this report

Updated: October 21, 2021, 11:01 PM