Brian Laundrie's Remains Identified After Weeks of Searching in Gabby Petito Case
By Rachel McRady
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Brian Laundrie has been found. The 23-year-old fiancé of the late Gabby Petito had been missing for weeks, but on Wednesday, the Sarasota County Medical Examiner's Office was called to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in North Port to examine remains that had been discovered there. It was confirmed on Thursday that the remains are those of Laundrie.
"Chris and Roberta Laundrie have been informed that the remains found yesterday in the reserve are indeed Brian’s," the attorney for the Laundrie family, Steven Bertolino, said in a statement to ET on Thursday. "We have no further comment at this time and we ask that you respect the Laundrie’s privacy at this time."
The FBI confirmed the news on Twitter Thursday afternoon, writing, "On October 21, 2021, 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."
#UPDATE: On October 21, 2021, 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. @FBITampapic.twitter.com/ZnzbXiibTM
This came after items belonging to Laundrie were found at the park, according to Bertolino. The park had previously been closed to the public for close to a month, but reopened on Tuesday.
Laundrie's parents went to the park to search for their son on Wednesday morning, Bertolino told local station WFLA, with local police and the FBI. The "articles" belonging to Laundrie were found on a trail shortly after. Police then closed down the park again on Wednesday and the medical examiner was called out to the park.
Several hours later NBC News reported that partial human remains were found near belongings believed to have been Laundrie's.
Laundrie remains the only person of interest in the death of his fianceé, Petito.
Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue said at the time that there are still many details he cannot share about the 22-year-old's death due to local rules but stated that her body appeared to have been left in the wilderness for three to four weeks before it was discovered and examined.
Petito's initial disappearance went viral as people tried to solve the case of the missing influencer. The search for her fiancé began after he was said to have gone for a hike shortly after Petito was reported missing and never returned.
Laundrie's parents initially told investigators that he left home on Sept. 14 to hike Carlton Reserve, which led to an extensive search of the 25,000-acre area. Bertolino later said, "We now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday, Sept. 13."
Petito spent the summer traveling the United States with Laundrie, and documenting their adventures on social media. However, Laundrie returned to his parents' Florida home without Petito, but with their van.
After the coroner reported his findings, Bertolino released a statement shortly thereafter. "Gabby Petito’s death at such a young age is a tragedy. While Brian Laundrie is currently charged with the unauthorized use of a debit card belonging to Gabby, Brian is only considered a person of interest in relation to Gabby Petito’s demise," Bertolino said. "At this time, Brian is still missing and when he is located we will address the pending fraud charge against him."