GABBY PETITO INVESTIGATION

Strong probability that suspected remains found in Florida park are Brian Laundrie’s, family attorney says

Oct 21, 2021, 7:09 AM

(CNN) — The apparent human remains that authorities found Wednesday in a Florida park most likely belong to Brian Laundrie, the missing man whose fiancée Gabby Petito was found fatally strangled last month, the Laundrie family attorney told CNN.

Investigators also found a backpack and a notebook belonging to Laundrie, 23, near the suspected remains while they were searching the Carlton Reserve in North Port, according to FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael McPherson. On Thursday morning, several K-9 units and off-road vehicles were observed entering the reserve to further search the area.

Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that “the probability is strong that it is Brian’s remains,” and he noted that Laundrie’s parents had been part of the search team.

“It’s quite sad, you can imagine as a parent, finding your son’s belonging alongside from the remains. That’s got to be heartbreaking. And I can tell you that they are heartbroken,” he said Wednesday.

The discovery comes during an exhaustive search for Laundrie that stretched over a month as authorities tried to piece together what happened to him and Petito during their road trip through the Western US this summer.

Petito, 22, disappeared on the trip amid tensions in their relationship, and her remains were later found in Wyoming near where the couple had last been seen together. Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue ruled her death a homicide and said she died by manual strangulation.

Coroner says Gabby Petito strangled, was killed weeks before her body was found

Laundrie, who had returned by himself to his parents’ home in Florida, refused to talk with investigators and then went missing in the nearby nature reserve. He has not been seen since September 13.

He has not been charged in her death, although he was indicted for allegedly using two financial accounts that did not belong to him in the days following her killing.

A medical examiner arrived to the reserve on Wednesday, and a formal identification of the remains could take a while. A source close to the investigation told CNN that the suspected human remains “appear to have been there a while.”

“Based on the condition of the remains, it may take some time to officially identify. It is going to be a very thorough process with the medical examiner,” the source said.

FBI: Items linked to Laundrie, potential remains found

It was the same area of the park where Laundrie’s family told law enforcement to look, Bertolino said. The apparent remains were found in an area that has been underwater until recently, McPherson said, which could potentially make the identification process take longer.

Brian Laundrie’s parents were on scene when remains were found

Laundrie’s family had refused to talk publicly following legal advice, but they had directed authorities to where they believed he may be staying in the reserve, Bertolino said.

The parents — Chris and Roberta Laundrie — helped law enforcement with finding some items at the park on Wednesday morning, which their attorney described as “happenstance.”

According to Bertolino, Laundrie’s parents informed the FBI and the North Port Police Department on Tuesday night that they wanted to visit the park Wednesday morning to search for their son.

Law enforcement met them there and closely accompanied them as they entered the park, Bertolino said.

“As they went further in, Chris ventured off the trail into the woods. He was zigzagging in different areas, law enforcement was doing the same thing. And Roberta Laundrie was walking down the trail,” Bertolino said. “At some point, Chris locates what’s called a dry bag. The dry bag is a white bag, laying in the woods, say 20 feet or so off the trail.”

The dry bag was in some brambles and he didn’t want to move it because he wanted his law enforcement to see it, Bertolino said. However, Chris Laundrie “couldn’t find the law enforcement” because they were out of sight and didn’t want to leave the bag there with a news reporter standing nearby, so he picked it up, Bertolino explained.

“He did meet up shortly with law enforcement, they looked at the contents of the bag. At that time, law enforcement officers showed him a picture on the phone of a backpack that law enforcement had located also nearby and also some distance off the trail,” Bertolino told CNN.

“At that point, the Laundries were notified there was also remains near the backpack, and they were asked to leave the preserve.”

The suspected remains were found “about 2 to 3 miles inside the Carlton Reserve, or about a 45-minute walk” from the entrance at Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, North Port police spokesperson Josh Taylor said.

When asked why the parents chose to go to the park on Wednesday, Bertolino said it was the first day it was reopened to the public.

“The parents had assumed that the experts, the FBI and all the tracking teams they had would be able to locate Brian based upon the information that we had provided them to the specific areas and trails in the park that Brian liked to visit,” Bertolino said. “The park had been closed to the public. There was really no other reason for the Laundries to go search anywhere else.


The-CNN-Wire
™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. All rights reserved.

KSL 5 TV Live

Gabby Petito Investigation

NORTH PORT, FL - SEPTEMBER 16: Tara Petito (L) and Joe Petito react while the City of North Port Ch...

Lauren del Valle

Gabby Petito’s parents get ‘burn after reading’ letter from Brian Laundrie’s parents

Gabby Petito’s parents now have a copy of a letter Brian Laundrie’s mother wrote to her son, which included references to getting a shovel and burying a body.

10 days ago

A new bodycam footage reveals what Gabby Petito told police about a domestic dispute with fiancé B...

Pat Reavy

Gabby Petito’s family files amended lawsuit against Moab police

The family of Gabby Petito has filed an amended lawsuit against Moab police, alleging that the Lethality Assessment Protocol wasn't used because officers weren't being trained properly.

3 months ago

FILE - This police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Gabrielle "Gabby" Peti...

Jean Casarez and Lauren del Valle

Gabby Petito’s family attorney claims that Brian Laundrie’s mom wrote a letter offering ‘to help bury the body’

An attorney representing the parents of Gabby Petito wants the letter he says Brian Laundrie's mom wrote him offering to bury a body, with inscription 'burn after reading.'

4 months ago

Gabby Petito...

Josh Ellis

New photo allegedly shows Gabby Petito’s injuries before interview with Moab PD

A newly released photograph appears to show injuries on Gabby Petito's face shortly before she met with officers from the Moab Police Department.

4 months ago

A new bodycam footage reveals what Gabby Petito told police about a domestic dispute with fiancé B...

Amanda Musa and Jamiel Lynch, CNN

Gabby Petito’s parents file motion to add Laundrie family attorney as defendant in an ongoing lawsuit

The parents of Gabby Petito have filed a motion to add Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino as a defendant in an ongoing civil lawsuit against Brian Laundrie's parents.

6 months ago

FILE: Gabrielle Petito. (Instagram)...

Sara Weisfeldt and Leyla Santiago, CNN

Gabby Petito’s family awarded $3M in wrongful death lawsuit against Brian Laundrie’s estate

A Sarasota County judge ruled in favor of Gabby Petito's family in a lawsuit against the estate of Brian Laundrie Thursday morning.

7 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Brunette guy in headphones playing games on his desktop computer...

PC Laptops

Looking For a New Computer? Use This Desktop Buying Guide

Choosing a new desktop computer can come with a lot of questions, so we created this desktop buying guide.

Portrait of happy boy playing and splashing water in the swimming pool...

Get Out Pass

Family Fun Activities in Utah You Have to Try This Summer

These family fun activities will entertain you all summer, so if you ever feel stuck in a rut wondering what to do, refer to this guide!

Woman IT specialist in elegant suit working on notebook computer in data center next to server rack...

Les Olson

Your Complete Guide to Outsourcing IT Services

This guide covers everything you need to know about the different benefits of outsourcing IT services to meet your small business needs.

diverse group of friends dance outside under string lights...

Lighting Design

5 Frequently Asked Questions About Outdoor Lighting

Read for the most frequently asked questions about outdoor lighting to help narrow the search for your home.

Stack of old laptops with dark background...

PC Laptops

Old Laptop Upgrades You Need to Try Before Throwing it Away

Get the most out of your investment. Try these old laptop upgrades before throwing it out to keep it running fast and efficient.

Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...

BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.

Strong probability that suspected remains found in Florida park are Brian Laundrie’s, family attorney says