NORTH PORT, Florida — The parents of Brian Laundrie are “heartbroken” after finding potential human remains and items that apparently belonged to him in a Florida wilderness park, Laundrie family lawyer Steven Bertolino says.
Bertolino stated that it was quite tragic to imagine as a parent finding the son’s remains with his belongings. That’s just too heartbreaking. “I can assure you, they are broken.”
He stated that there is a strong probability that Brian is still alive.
Late Wednesday, the FBI announced the discovery in a park with trails that connect to the sprawling Carlton Reserve, potentially ending the search for the missing fiance of murdered blogger Gabby Petito. Petito’s murder has made Laundrie a “person-of-interest”.
Law enforcement officials had searched the area for weeks, but FBI Tampa special agent Michael McPherson said the backpack, notebook and remains were found in an area that was previously underwater. McPherson said identification of the remains could take days and that the investigative team would be on the scene for several days.
The park was closed to the public again just one day after it had been reopened by Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park. On Thursday, marked and unmarked police cars drove into the environment park.
“I know you have a lot of questions, but we don’t have all the answers yet,” McPherson said Wednesday. “We are working diligently to get those answers for you.”
Laundrie went missing days before Petito’s corps was found
His family claims that Laundrie, who had left home Sept. 13, went on a hiking trip in the Carlton Reserve. This reserve covers nearly 25,000 acres in south Sarasota County. He never came back, however. Laundrie’s car turned up at Myakkahatchee parks days later. The area was searched for five weeks by police, but nothing was found.
Laundrie’s parents told the FBI and the North Port Police Department on Tuesday night that they intended to search the park Wednesday morning, Bertolino said. They were met by law enforcement.
Petito’s death:Wyoming coroner states that Gabby Petito, who died from strangulation, was killed ‘three to 4 weeks before the body was found.
Laundrie’s father discovered his son’s bag
The parents walked the trail with law enforcement personnel nearby when Chris Laundrie ventured off the trail “zigzagging in different areas” and found a white bag in some brambles, Bertolino said. Chris Laundrie then found law enforcement officers – who had found a backpack and remains, Bertolino said.
Bertolino dismissed as “hogwash” a suggestion that Chris Laundrie had planted the dry bag. According to Bertolino, the parents decided Wednesday to go to the park because that was the first time it had been reopened for the public.
Bertolino stated that his parents assumed that experts and the FBI would locate Brian, based on the data we provided about the trails and areas in the park Brian loved to explore. “The park had been closed for public. “There was no other reason that the Laundries would search for anything else.”
Petito’s corps found in Wyoming
Petito and Laundrie met in high school on Long Island. They left from Long Island in July on a months-long tour of national parks and other sites, bound for Oregon, occasionally posting happy social media photos and stories along the way. Laundrie was alone when he returned home to Florida where he lived with Petito. Petito’s parents reported Petito missing ten days after not hearing anything from her since mid August.
Petito’s body was found Sept. 19 near a Wyoming campground. Teton County Coroner Brent Blue ruled Petito’s death a homicide by strangulation, saying Petito’s body had been “outside in the wilderness for three to four weeks” before it was found.
Petito’s only person of concern is Laundrie. He has not been charged in Petito’s death, but he does face charges of unauthorized use of a debit card and several accounts involving more than $1,000. These documents don’t identify who cards and accounts are belonging to.
The indictment also charges Laundrie with unauthorized access of a device and says he used the bank accounts without permission from about Aug. 30 through Sept. 1.
Domestic trouble:Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie, the tragedy of domestic abuse
There were signs of trouble in the relationship
After Petito’s disappearance, police video emerged of problems between the couple, and officers at one point separated Petito and Laundrie for a night after a domestic dispute had turned physical.
In Utah, the Grand County sheriff’s office released a 911 call from Aug. 12 in which the caller says he drove by the couple’s van and witnessed that “the gentleman was slapping the girl.”
These are red flagsGabby Petito had been strangled. Experts believe that such an attack is indicative of intimate partner murders.
Body camera video showed Petito in tears during a police stop on the side of a highway near Arches National Park in Utah. The footage shows a police officer speaking with Laundrie, who said friction had been building between the two for several days, though authorities at the scene took no action other than telling the couple to separate for the night.
Bacon was based in Arlington, Virginia
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