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Possible human remains found in area where Brian Laundrie items were located, FBI says

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Posted at 9:38 AM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 17:09:09-04

NORTH PORT, Fla. — The FBI says its investigators have found what appear to be human remains in an area in Florida where personal items belonging to Brian Laundrie were located Wednesday morning. The 23-year-old man is a person of interest in the death of his fiancée, Gabby Petito.

“Earlier today, investigators found what appears to be human remains, along with personal items such as a backpack and a notebook belonging to Brian Laundrie. These items were found in an area that up until recently had been underwater,” said Michael McPherson, special agent in charge of FBI Tampa during a press conference Wednesday.

Authorities have not confirmed whether the remains belong to Laundrie.

Steven Bertolino, an attorney for the Laundrie family, released a statement, saying Brian’s parents, Chris and Roberta, went to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in North Port to search for their son Wednesday morning.

The lawyer says the FBI and the North Port Police Department were informed of Laundrie’s parents’ intentions and the agencies met them at the park. After a brief search off of a trail that Laundrie reportedly frequented, the attorney says, “Some articles belonging to Brian were found.”

The FBI confirmed that "items of interest" were located at the Carlton Reserve in connection with the search for Brian Laundrie. The agency added that it has an evidence response team processing the scene and that portions of the reserve are closed to the public.

“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,” said McPherson. “I know you have a lot of questions, but we don’t have all the answers yet. We’re working diligently to get those answers for you.”

Aerial views of the scene showed that authorities had set up a tent in the area and many law enforcement vehicles were present.

Additionally, a medical examiner’s office in Sarasota was called to the park where the search for Laundrie is underway, a spokeswoman for the office confirmed to WFTS.

Petito, 22, was reported missing on Sept. 11 after she didn’t return from a cross-country road trip that she went on with Laundrie, visiting national parks in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.

Gabby Petito
This combo of photos provided by FBI Denver via @FBIDenver shows missing person Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito. Petito, 22, vanished while on a cross-country trip in a converted camper van with her boyfriend. Authorities say a body discovered Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, in Wyoming, is believed to be Petito. (Courtesy of FBI Denver via AP)

The woman’s remains were later recovered near the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in Wyoming on Sept. 19. Her death was ruled a homicide and the Teton County coroner has said she died by strangulation.

Authorities say Laundrie returned to Florida without Petito after their trip, but he then disappeared, and law enforcement has been actively searching for him.

Missing Traveler
FILE - This Aug. 12, 2021 file photo from video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Brian Laundrie talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with his girlfriend, Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito, near the entrance to Arches National Park. (The Moab Police Department via AP, File)

According to the FBI, a federal arrest warrant has been issued for Laundrie related to his alleged activities following the death of Petito. Specifically, the warrant is for violating a federal statute over the “use of unauthorized access devices.”