Human remains found in Florida reserve confirmed to be Brian Laundrie, amid speculation his parents struck a deal with feds, avoiding obstruction of justice charges – leading to discovery of remains
Partial remains found by authorities searching for Brian Laundrie, on Wednesday were confirmed to be his after a review of dental records
Human remains were found at the Carlton Reserve Wednesday along with a backpack that contained some of Laundrie’s belongings
The murder suspect’s parents helped lead the FBI and North Port police to the site of the discovery at Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, an attorney for the Laundrie family said
Christopher and Roberta Laundrie avoided obstruction of justice charges, coming forward with what they know about Gabby Petito’s murder and their son’s whereabouts that led to discovery of his possible remains
Authorities could have issued Chris and Roberta Laundrie an ultimatum to help them find their son Brian or face years behind bars, law enforcement experts say
Laundrie went on the run as it became apparent he was the only suspect in the strangulation death of his fiancé, Gabrielle Petito, whose remains was found in a Wyoming national park in September
Laundrie, 23, was the sole person of interest in the murder of his fiancée, 22-year-old Gabby Petito
Partial remains found by authorities searching for Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito’s fiancé, were confirmed to be his after a review of dental records.
The remains were found in Florida’s Carlton Reserve on Wednesday after more than a month of searching for Laundrie, who was declared a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance before her body was found in Wyoming. The FBI field office in Denver announced that the remains were positively identified Thursday.
North Port Police Thursday said the remains were “skeletal.”
According to the FBI, the remains were found alongside personal items, such as a backpack and a notebook, belonging to Laundrie.
The murder suspect’s parents helped lead the FBI and North Port police to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, according to Steven Bertolino, an attorney for the Laundrie family.
“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,” he said in another statement Wednesday evening.
The bizarre string of events leading to the discovery had many law enforcement experts believing the fugitive’s parents told feds what they know about Gabby Petito’s murder to avoid obstruction charges.
It is believed that authorities issued the Laundries a quiet ultimatum to come forward with any information withheld that will help in the search for their fugitive son, Brian, or face jail time themselves.
The couple have come under scrutiny since their son went on the run after Gabby Petito’s body was found. Christopher and Roberta Laundrie joined the hunt for their fugitive son Wednesday and within hours cops had finally located his backpack, notepad and possible remains in Florida marshlands.
The area where the human remains was found Tuesday was previously waterlogged. Authorities said the breakthrough, five weeks into the manhunt, came after receding water levels allowed greater access to some of Brian Laundrie’s favorite trails and hangouts in the alligator-infested Carlton Nature Reserve.
Christopher Laundrie, 62, and Roberta Laundrie, 55, initially told the North Port Police Dept they last saw their son when he headed off to go hiking at the reserve on September 14.
Following Tuesday’s developments, law enforcement experts say it’s highly probable that the fugitive’s parents couple flipped on their taciturn stance in the search for their son, forcing them to finally speak up after receiving an ultimatum.
Despite a rash of unconfirmed sightings across the US, police and FBI search teams had maintained a laser focus on the sprawling Carlton Reserve ever since Laundrie, 23, was reported missing by his parents on September 17.
Petito’s remains were found two days later at the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Ground in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.
The 22-year-old travel vlogger’s death was declared a homicide by strangling. Brian Laundrie, her fiancé of a year, who was also her sole travelling companion had returned from their cross-country road trip, to the Florida home they shared without her, on September 1.
He vanished a couple of weeks later without volunteering any information regarding Fiancée’s whereabouts and has not been seen.
He has remained the only confirmed person of interest,
His parents Christopher, 62, and Roberta Laundrie, 55, initially told the North Port Police Department they last saw their son when he headed off to go hiking at the reserve on September 14, leaving his Ford Mustang parked nearby and never returning to it.
The couple came under renewed scrutiny, however, when they suddenly ‘revised’ their timeline, saying through their attorney, Steven Bertolino, that they last saw him on the evening of September 13.
‘The probability is strong that it is Brian’s remains, but we’re going to wait for the forensic results to come in and verify that,’ Bertolino told CNN on Wednesday night.
He said Christopher and Roberta would wait until a final determination was made before making any comment.
To date the couple have not said a single word publicly about Brian and Gabby, who got engaged last year and lived under their roof before they headed off in July for a road trip in a converted van.
Laundrie’s belongings were found near a bridge connecting the the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park and the adjoining Carlton Reserve. The Laundrie family home in North Port, Florida is located around four miles south of where the belongings were found.
At a briefing Wednesday afternoon FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael McPherson confirmed that human remains had been found in an area of the 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve that was previously submerged in water.
The reserve has been reopened to the public but the family’s attorney told NewsNation that he contacted police on Tuesday to tell them the Laundries wanted to resume the search personally now that the water level had receded.
Christopher Laundrie had previously joined investigators to look for his son but this was the first time he was accompanied by his wife.
Steven Bertolino said the parents spread out on either side of a trail. A short while later Christopher found a bag containing some of Brian’s items while a cop accompanying Roberta found the backpack.
McPherson did not discuss the condition of the human remains found nearby but the painstaking use of cadaver dogs over a wide section of swamp is telling, according to his former FBI colleagues.
The sprawling Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park which is connected to the 25,000 acre Carlton Reserve was locked down following the grim discovery on Wednesday. North Port police blocked the the entrance to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park after items belong to Brian Laundrie and potential human remains were found in a Florida wilderness park during a search for clues.
‘The reality is very morbid but when you’re exposed to the natural elements, wildlife can be drawn to the body. You only have to live in Florida for a brief period of time and know we’re surrounded by coyotes, alligators, bobcats, even panthers,’ Kaplan said.
‘So I think the fact that you saw the cadaver dogs gridding that area leads me to believe that there were parts that would not be intact and that may have been scattered about. They may have some difficulty in retrieving the entire body.’
The FBI in Denver revealed on September 23 that Laundrie was wanted on a federal arrest warrant over the unauthorized use of a credit card.
However, defense attorney Bertolino insists, the alleged criminal act occurred after Petito’s death and is ‘not related to her actual demise’.
The FBI referred to the case as a murder investigation for the first time at Wednesday’s briefing, just days after a Wyoming coroner said the cause of death was strangulation and that domestic violence played a role.
‘I think Brian went there to kill himself,’ added Coffindaffer.
‘The fact that he left behind his wallet and his phone, leads me to believe that he planned this.
‘It’s terribly sad for the Petitos but there’s no way to get closure, honestly, if he doesn’t go to trial. And it looks increasingly like that’s going to be the case here.’
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