Remains of Gabby Petito’s fiancé Brian Laundrie found at Florida park, FBI says

Meryl Kornfield, María Luisa Paúl 3 minutes

Investigators have identified the remains of Brian Laundrie, whose fiancee Gabby Petito was found dead after he returned home alone from the couple’s cross-country trip.

Laundrie’s remains, found in a Florida wilderness area along with his belongings, were confirmed by the FBI Thursday following a comparison of dental records, the agency’s Denver office said. The announcement marks the end of a manhunt spanning weeks for Laundrie since the 23-year-old was reported missing by his family on Sept. 17. Authorities did not share what the cause of death was.

Steve Bertolino, an attorney for the Laundrie family, told The Washington Post that the family had been told the remains were his shortly after investigators were seen visiting Laundrie’s home in Sarasota.

“Chris and Roberta Laundrie have been informed that the remains found yesterday in the reserve are indeed Brian’s,” Bertolino wrote in a text message. “We have no further comment at this time and we ask that you respect the Laundrie’s privacy at this time.”

Laundrie, considered “a person of interest” in Petito’s disappearance, has been the subject of a massive manhunt by local, state and federal agencies, searching Carlton Reserve, a roughly 25,000-acre wetlands area in Sarasota County. When his family reported him missing, they told police he left his home for the park.

On Wednesday, authorities said they had found his backpack, notebook and other belongings near the entrance to the park, in an area that had previously been flooded.

Petito’s disappearance after the couple’s cross-country trip attracted national interest for more than a month and highlighted inequities in missing person cases. Internet sleuths tried to piece together clues from the “#vanlife” enthusiast’s social media posts. Petito and Laundrie were on a months-long cross-country road trip, and they were last known to be together in Grand Teton, Wyo., on Aug. 25, heading toward Yellowstone National Park.

The 22-year-old woman’s body was found Sept. 19 in a remote area of Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming, and her death was ruled a homicide by strangulation.

No one has been been charged in her death. A federal grand jury in Wyoming indicted him last month after determining that he used “one or more unauthorized devices” including a debit card and PIN numbers for two bank accounts, to fraudulently obtain more than $1,000.

This story is developing and will be updated.

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