Brian Laundrie is the sole person of interest in the case of Gabby Petito's murder.
The remains still need to be formally identified, but they were found alongside personal items – including a backpack and notebook – belonging to Brian Laundrie. A lawyer representing the Laundrie family, Steve Bertolino, said the probability “is strong” that the body belongs to Briam. “But we’re going to wait for the forensic results to come in and verify that,” he added.
“[Brian’s parents] 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,” the lawyer said in a statement.
23-year-old Brian Laundrie has been missing for more than a month, after his parents claimed they last saw him heading off on a hike on 14 September. He returned to his family home in Florida alone on on 1 September, after having set off on a months-long campervan tour of US national parks with Gabby in a converted Ford Transit van. 22-year-old Gabby Petito had been filming their trip and sharing it on her Youtube channel Nomadic Statik, in the hopes of establishing a career as a travel blogger.
The young woman was reported missing by her family on 11 September, after they were unable to get hold of her. Following a viral campaign to work out what happened to Gabby Petito, her body was found in a Wyoming National Park, and earlier this month her cause of death was confirmed as strangulation.
“In the of death in Gabrielle Venora Petito, we find the cause of death the cause is by strangulation and the manner is homicide,” Teton County Coroner, Dr Brent Blue, concluded.
Following the announcement of Gabby’s cause of death, Brian’s family issued a statement via their lawyer. “Gabby Petito’s death at such a young age is a tragedy. While Brian Laundrie is currently charged with the unauthorised use of a debit card belonging to Gabby, Brian is only considered a person of interest in relation to Gabby Petito’s demise,” Steve Bertolino told local news station WFLA.
The FBI had an arrest warrant out for Brian Laundrie in regards to the unauthorised debit card charges.
In a news conference yesterday (Wednesday 20 October) confirming the discovery of human remains and Brian Laundrie’s belongings in the Carlton Reserve area in Florida, FBI special agent Michael McPherson noted: “These items were found in an area that up until recently had been underwater.”
Brian’s parents had previously advised investigators their son had gone on a hike in the alligator-infested Florida swamp.