Human remains were found Wednesday in a Florida preserve next to a notebook and other items belonging to a man who has been declared “a person with an interest in killing his fiancee,” the FBI said.
The discovery came seven weeks after the man, Brian Laundrie, returned home from a months-long van ride without fiancee Gabrielle Petito and about four weeks after she was found dead in a national forest in Wyoming.
Michael F. McPherson, special agent in charge of the FBI field office in Tampa, said authorities found Mr. Laundrie’s notebook and backpack near what looked like human remains in Carleton Conservation Area – 24,565 people. an acre wildlife sanctuary in Sarasota County, Florida, according to Mr. McPherson. These items were found in an area that until recently was under water.
He said the Evidence Response Team used “all available forensic resources” to process the scene, which could take several days. According to him, the reserve is closed for visits.
“I know you have a lot of questions, but we don’t have answers to all of them yet,” Mr. MacPherson said at a press conference at which he didn’t answer questions. “We are working hard to get these answers for you.”
The discovery of the remains could end the search for Mr. Laundry after Miss Petito’s body was found in September at Bridger Teton National Forest in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.
The coroner determined that Ms. Petito’s death was murdered and the cause was strangulation. Coroner Dr. Brent Blue of Teton County, Wyoming said her body had been outside for three to four weeks before being found on September 19.
Mr. Laundrie’s items and remains were discovered Wednesday after his parents, Chris and Robert Laundrie, told the FBI and police on Tuesday night that they were going to come to the park Wednesday morning to find their son, the family’s lawyer. , Stephen Bertolino, said in a statement. Mr Bertolino said law enforcement officials met the parents at the park on Wednesday morning.
According to Bertolino, after a short search in the tracks that Mr. Laundrieoften visited, relatives and law enforcement officials found “some items” belonging to him. This discovery prompted law enforcement agencies to “conduct a more thorough investigation in this area.”
The Pasco County Sheriff’s Office confirmed on Wednesday that, at the request of local police, it brought a dog specially trained to find human remains into the park.
Authorities and Ms Petito’s family members were still hungry for answers about what happened during and after the couple’s cross-country trip, as Ms Petito, 22, and Mr Loundry, 23, detailed on Social networks.
Ms. Petito left New York with Mr. Laundrie in July in a white Ford van equipped with a bed and other essentials for visiting national parks and nomadic travel, which they dubbed “Van Life.”
On September 1, Mr. Laundrie returned to the home in North Port, Florida, where he and Ms. Petito lived. He went there alone in a van that was registered to Ms. Petito.
Ten days later, Ms. Petito’s family reported her missing. Soon, the FBI and national park rangers, which covered at least two states, joined in the search for her. Police said Mr. Laundrie refused to speak through a lawyer to investigators, who described him as a “person of interest” rather than a suspect.
Then, six days after Ms. Petito was reported missing, Mr. Loundry’s parents told police that they had not seen him for several days and began a second search for the missing person. Authorities began combing the Carlton Reserve, and the FBI issued a search warrant for the laundry residence.
Later, a federal arrest warrant was issued for Mr. Laundrie in Wyoming, charging him with debit card fraud after authorities said he illegally used a Capital One bank debit card in late August. The authorities did not disclose whether the debit card belonged to Ms Petito.
On August 12, police in Moab, Utah, responded to reports of “domestic problems” between the couple, according to a police report. It said that there had been “some kind of dispute” between Mr. Laundrie and Miss Petito.
Finding Gabby Petito
On 11 September, Gabrielle Petito’s family reported her missing. She appears to have disappeared while on a country trip with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie. Her remains were found in Wyoming on September 19.
The report said he told her to take a walk and calm down, and that Mr. Laundrie and Miss Petito told the officers that they were in love, engaged and “desperate to see anyone charged with a crime,” the report said.
Mr. Laundrie told one officer that “there have been disagreements between them in the past few days,” the report said.
Television footage reveals that during the meeting, Ms. Petito cried and said that she was suffering from anxiety. The police report recorded that Ms. Petito said that she slapped Mr. Laundrie in the face because she was afraid that he was “going to leave her in Moab without a trip.”
Both told police that the episode should be classified as a “mental / emotional health disorder” and not as domestic violence, the report said.
In the report, the police described Mr. Laundrie as a victim of the incident. They arranged for him to sleep at a hotel while Ms. Petito left the van. The report said no charges were filed.
Alan Juhas provided the reportage.