Human Bones Found in Florida Wilderness Park Confirmed as Belonging to Brian Laundrie
21:50 GMT 21.10.2021 (Updated: 13:25 GMT 06.08.2022)
The fiancé of Gabby Petito, a 22-year-old American woman who disappeared in late August, has been the subject of a search since early September after he disappeared less than two weeks after he allegedly went camping. Laundrie was considered the only person of interest in the case.
Human remains discovered in Florida's T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on Wednesday, have been confirmed as belonging to Brian Laundrie, FBI Denver announced on Thursday.
Due to the late stage of decomposition, the authorities used a comparison of dental records to establish the identity of the remains.
FBI special agent Michael McPherson stated at a press conference on Wednesday that the "personal items" found alongside the remains consisted of a "backpack and notebook."
An attorney for Laundrie's parents, Steven Bertolino, also said that they were present at the reserve when the then-unidentified remains and Laundrie's belongings were found.
The Murder of Gabby Petito
Laundrie's remains were discovered approximately five weeks after authorities found Petito's body in Wyoming's Bridger-Teton National Forest in late September. Her death was ruled a homicide by strangulation by the Teton County Coroner.
Investigators claimed that Laundrie, 23, returned to his house in North Port, Florida, on September 1 without Petito but drove her 2012 Ford Transit.
It took some time for police to list Laundrie as a "person of interest" in Petito's disappearance. A federal arrest warrant was issued on September 23 for illegally using Petito's credit card. He was, however, never charged in her death.
22 September 2021, 00:19 GMT
On September 13, the suspect vanished after reportedly refusing to speak to the police. North Port police did not seek to interrogate him when they first visited the Laundrie house. His parents told police they thought he was on his way to the Carlton Reserve in North Port, where he allegedly loved to hike.
Laundrie and Petito embarked on a cross-country road trip in late June, and had been featuring their journey in a YouTube vlog. Petito's parents reported her missing on September 11, after she had stopped communicating with them on August 24.
In mid-August, Petito and Laundrie had an encounter with police in the state of Utah as officers responded to a "domestic problem" between the two, as a witness claimed he saw Laundrie "slapping" Petito. However, the police ruled Petito was the "aggressor" and separated the two for the night.
Petito refused to press charges against her boyfriend, explaining to the officers that they were in love and were going to get married.