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SARASOTA COUNTY, Florida, Oct. 20, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — An FBI official said Wednesday afternoon that a notebook thought to belong to Brian 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 today’s developments in the search for Laundrie at 2:30 p.m. MT.
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.”
It is likely the team will be on scene for several days, he said.
“I know you have a lot of questions but we don’t have all the answers yet,” McPherson said. “We are working diligently to get those answers for you.”
The apparent remains have not been identified.
He said the public is asked to avoid the area to preserve the integrity of the investigation.
McPherson added the FBI Denver office remains the lead investigative agency.
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, the Laundrie family attorney Steven 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.”
Earlier Wednesday, Bertolino said investigators searching for Laundrie found “some articles” belonging to him off a trail that he frequented at the environmental park near his family’s home in Florida.
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 last 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. He would not give any further information on what or how many items were found.
Bertolino said that law enforcement is now conducting a more thorough investigation of that area.
North Port police are not yet commenting on the development, but the Sarasota County Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed on social media that members of its team have been called to the scene.
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. The Carlton Reserve, also in Sarasota County, Florida, which has been the other hub in the search for Laundrie, remains closed.
On Friday, Sept. 17, Laundrie’s parents told the FBI that their son went to the Carlton Reserve 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 is 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’ve 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 with information in this case is asked to call 1-800-CALL-FBI.
Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information is made available.