FBI: Brian Laundrie’s remains found in Fla.
Dental records match person of interest in gal pal’s death
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — The FBI on Thursday identified human remains found in a Florida nature preserve as those of Brian Laundrie, a person of interest in the death of girlfriend Gabby Petito while the couple was on a cross-country road trip.
The remains, a backpack and notebook believed to belong to Laundrie were discovered Wednesday in a Florida wilderness park, according to the FBI. The area where they were found had been under water during earlier searches.
The FBI’s Denver office said in a news release that a comparison of dental records confirmed that the remains were Laundrie. A lawyer for his parents, Steve Bertolino, also confirmed in a statement they were told the remains were those of their son.
“We have no further comment at this time and we ask that you respect the Laundrie’s privacy at this time,” the statement said.
The discovery of the remains concluded a massive search involving federal, state and local law enforcement that began shortly after Laundrie disappeared Sept. 14, two weeks after the 23-year-old returned alone to his parents’ home in North Port, Fla.
The investigation into Petito’s slaying, however, is not yet concluded. Still, only Laundrie has ever been identified by law enforcement officials as a person of interest in the case.
Petito’s family reported her missing Sept. 11, launching a search that garnered worldwide media attention and focused largely on the Carlton Reserve wilderness park near the Laundrie home. It is a densely wooded, swampy area that’s home to alligators, coyotes, bobcats, snakes and numerous other creatures.
The couple first gained an online following while on their trip in a converted Ford Transit van in videos filled with happy scenes that may have concealed deeper problems. After Petito disappeared, the case became a true-crime obsession on social media.
The intense focus on Petito’s case has led to renewed calls for people to pay greater attention to cases involving missing Indigenous women and other people of color. Petito, 22, was white.
Her body was found Sept. 19 on the edge of Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, which the couple had visited. The coroner there concluded she died of strangulation and her body had been where it was found for three or four weeks.