The remains of a human corpse were found in the Florida wilderness area, Wednesday (20/10), along with items believed to belong to Brian Laundrie, the lover of a social media influencer Gabby Petito, who was previously reported missing and was found dead last September.
The FBI’s Federal Bureau of Investigation said Petito was found dead after Laundrie returned home alone from a cross-state trip.
At a press conference, the head of the FBI’s Tampa, Florida office, Michael McPherson said it would take time to identify the body. He added that the remains were found near a backpack and notebook related to Laundry.
“We are diligently working hard to find answers,” said McPherson. The remains and belongings allegedly belonging to Laundrie were found in a swampy area that is home to crocodiles, snakes, coyotes and other wildlife.
“Most likely our team will be at that location for a few days,” he added.
Laundrie’s parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, participated in the search with the FBI and police from North Porth, Florida. The search comes more than a month after Laundrie was reported missing following a trip to the vast Carlton Reserve National Park.
“After following Brian’s frequent trails, some of the items were found at the location where the remains were,” the Laundrie family’s attorney, Steven Bertolino, said in a text message to Associated Press.
“Until now, law enforcement officers are still conducting intensive investigations in the area.”
The Sarasota County Medical Examination Office said it had been called in to be involved in the identification process, but did not elaborate.
Laundrie, 23, was a key person in the murder of Petito, who was reported missing on September 11 by his parents while the pair were traveling across the United States.
This case attracted enormous public attention and raised uncomfortable questions about the inequality of attention in the hundreds of cases of Native Americans and women from other minority groups who went missing or were murdered across America. Gabby Petito herself is a white woman.
Petito’s body was found on September 19 on the edge of Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, which was one of the locations the couple visited. The Office of Corporal Affairs in the area concluded Petito had died from strangulation and his body had been in the area for 3-4 weeks.
The couple Laundrie and Petito were stopped by the police on August 12 after experiencing a physical altercation. But police in Moab, Utah, who stopped the two, did not make any demands.
Laundrie returned home alone on September 1 in a Ford van.
He was reported missing after telling his parents on September 14 that he would be hiking in the Carlton Reserve, a nature reserve in Sarasota County, which has been the center of the search for the past few weeks.
Search activities on Wednesday (20/10) focused on the Myakkahatchee Creek Park area where television media reported the arrival of a number of law enforcement vehicles and the setting up of a tent in the wilderness. Police also found a Ford Mustang driven by Laundrie in the nature reserve area. [em/jm]