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Brian Laundrie’s remains found, FBI confirms

Brian Laundrie. (Courtesy of North Port Police Department/TNS)
October 21, 2021

The FBI confirmed on Thursday that human remains found in Florida belong to missing fugitive Brian Laundrie. Laundrie was last seen September 14, three days after his fiancee Gabby Petito was reported missing.

“A comparison of dental records confirmed that the human remains found at the T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park are those of Brian Laundrie,” the FBI said in a press release late Thursday.

On Wednesday, Special Agent in Charge of the FBI field office in Tampa Michael McPherson told reporters that investigators found human remains and personal items belonging to Laundrie, including a backpack and notebook.

McPherson had said the remains and items were found in an area that had been underwater until recently.

Sarasota County Medical Examiner and cadaver dogs were both called to the scene on Wednesday, and were seen again on Thursday.

Last week, roughly one month after 22-year-old Petito was found dead in Wyoming, the findings of her autopsy revealed that she was strangled to death.

Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue told reporters during a virtual press conference that he found the cause of death to be strangulation, and affirmed that the manner of her death was homicide.

Blue wouldn’t reveal whether the strangulation was caused by an object or someone’s hands.

Petito’s body was found in Grand Teton National Park on September 19, and was positively identified on September 21. Her family last heard from her in the last week of August, but she was not reported missing until September 11.

Laundrie was named a person of interest in her death, but had not been named a suspect. However, he was suspected of using Petito’s bank card for more than $1,000 worth of charges without authorization and an arrest warrant was issued September 22.

Petito’s death and Laundrie’s disappearance gained national media attention for more than a month. Television personality “Dog the Bounty Hunter” Duane Chapman and “America’s Most Wanted” host John Walsh were among those involved in the efforts to track Laundrie down.

Petito and Laundrie had been on a cross-country road trip at the time of her disappearance. They had left in June, and Petito regularly posted updates on social media and communicated with family members throughout her trip. Those updates stopped on August 27, though the family last received a text message simply saying “No service in Yosemite” on August 30, which the family doubts was written by Petito.

Police had encountered Petito and Laundrie on August 12 when officers initiated a traffic stop on the couple’s van after receiving reports of a man and woman arguing outside a restaurant in Moab, Utah. Police ultimately separated the couple for the night and let them proceed without charges.