SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida, Oct. 21, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The FBI Denver said Thursday afternoon that a comparison of dental records confirms that the human remains found Wednesday are those of Brian Laundrie.
The FBI tweeted the information at 3:39 p.m., one day after the remains were found.
North Port, Florida, police said Thursday that the remains found were skeletal. Senior law enforcement officials also said the remains included a portion of a human skull.
Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino told CNN on Thursday before the remains were confirmed as Laundrie: “It’s quite sad, you can imagine as a parent, finding your son’s belongings alongside some remains. That’s got to be heartbreaking. And I can tell you that they are heartbroken.”
An FBI official said Wednesday afternoon that a notebook thought to belong to Laundrie was found along with human remains and a backpack in Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in Florida.
FBI Tampa gave a statement to the media concerning the developments in the search for Laundrie on Wednesday.
FBI Tampa Division Special Agent in Charge Michael McPherson said: “Earlier today, investigators found what appears to be human remains, along with personal items such as a backpack and notebook belonging to Brian Laundrie. These items were found in an area that up until recently had been under water. Our evidence response team is on scene using all available forensic resources to process the area.”
McPherson added the FBI Denver office remains the lead investigative agency on the case.
Immediately after McPherson gave his statement, a crowd of individuals gathered at the site of the press conference chanted: “Justice for Gabby…”
After the press conference, Bertolino released the following statement: “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. Chris and Roberta will wait for the forensic identification of the human remains before making any additional comments.”
Bertolino said Chris and Roberta Laundrie went to the park Wednesday morning to search for Laundrie.
The FBI and the North Port Police Department were informed Tuesday night of the Laundries’ intentions to visit the park, and law enforcement met them there Wednesday morning, he said.
After a “brief search” off a trail Laundrie frequented, the family and law enforcement found “some articles” belonging to him, Bertolino said.
The entrance to Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park is about five miles north of the Laundrie family home.
It was announced Tuesday that the park had reopened after being closed for nearly a month due to the search. Parts of the park have now been closed off.
On Friday, Sept. 17, Laundrie’s parents told the FBI that their son went to the Carlton Reserve near the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park that Tuesday, Sept. 14, but never returned home. They later said that, in fact, they last saw their son Sept. 13.
Since then, the North Port Police Department and the FBI have been searching the 24,565-acre nature reserve for the 23-year-old man.
Laundrie was the only person of interest in the disappearance of 22-year-old Gabby Petito. The couple, who shared a home with Laundrie’s parents in Florida, had been traveling across the western U.S., including stops in Utah, before Petito’s disappearance near the end of August.
On Tuesday, Oct. 12, it was determined that Petito died of strangulation, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue announced.
“We find the cause of death by strangulation, and the manner is homicide,” Blue said at a news conference.
Blue said his estimate is that Petito, 22, died three to four weeks before her body was found. Three to four weeks before Petito’s body was discovered would have been in the approximate time period of Aug. 21 through 28.
Laundrie returned home on Sept. 1, driving Petito’s van, but without her. Petito was reported missing on Sept. 11.
Laundrie declined to cooperate with authorities, as did his parents.
On Sept. 19, FBI agents found the remains believed to be Petito’s in an area where the couple had been camping in Grand Teton National Park.
Officials confirmed on Sept. 21 the human remains found in Grand Teton National Park were those of the missing woman.
Though authorities have not explicitly connected Laundrie to Petito’s death, they had been looking for him, in part over a federal arrest warrant accusing him of illegally using another person’s debit card. That card belonged to Petito, investigators say.
Anyone who may have any information regarding the case is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.
Gephardt Daily will have more on this story as information is made available.