North Port, FL

FBI confirms body found is Brian Laundrie

MIAMIDIARIO

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The FBI issued a statement Thursday confirming that the skeletal remains found Wednesday in the Carlton Reservation belong to Brian Laundrie.

The agency conducted a comparison of dental records.

In a tweet from the Denver FBI office, it reads that “on October 21, 2021, a comparison of dental records confirmed that the human remains found at T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park are the by Brian Laundrie, ”it reads, reported CNNEspanol.

Brian Laundrie's parents  were informed that the remains found yesterday belonged to their son, Steven Bertolino, the Laundrie family's attorney, told CNN.

Bertolino stated that “Chris and Roberta Laundrie have been informed that the remains found yesterday in the reserve are in fact Brian's. We have no further comment at this time and we ask that you respect Laundrie's privacy at this time".

Investigators on Wednesday found human remains and clothing believed to belong to Laundrie.

“They are human remains, there is no doubt. I'd say the remains were consistent with an individual, you know, skeletal remains, ”North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor said in an on-camera interview with CNN.

As for the clothing found, Taylor said it was consistent with what Laundrie was believed to be wearing.

Taylor indicated that the belongings had been there for some time.

Laundrie disappeared last month, a few days before Wyoming authorities found the remains of his fiancee Gabby Petito, who had been strangled.

Investigators also found a backpack and notebook of Laundrie, 23, near the remains while searching the Carlton Reservation in North Port, according to FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael McPherson.

“To my understanding, the notebook has not been opened. You know, that will have to be prosecuted, ”Taylor said.

A source with knowledge of the investigation told CNN that the notebook is "possibly salvageable." The source said the laptop was "out of the dry bag."

"It was clearly wet and they are going to use any potential method to dry it before opening it," according to the source, who added: "They will be very careful."

The source said it's unclear how the laptop ended up out of the bag.

When Taylor was asked if weapons were found, Taylor replied, "I can't access that information."

When asked if there is an ongoing search for Gabby Petito's killer, he replied, "That is certainly not in the purview of the North Port Police Department."

During a police search, Brian's father, Chris Laundrie, was the first to spot an item that belonged to his son, according to Taylor.

Laundrie's family attorney, Steven Bertolino, told CNN's Chris Cuomo on Wednesday that "it's very likely Brian's remains."

The discovery came Wednesday morning when Laundrie's parents and police searched an area of ​​the reserve that had been underwater but recently reopened to the public.

“It is quite sad, you can imagine as a father, finding your son's belongings along with some remains. That has to be heartbreaking. And I can tell you that they are heartbroken, ”Bertolino told Cuomo.

Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said Thursday that law enforcement agencies had been searching in treacherous conditions, including nearly chest-high water filled with snakes and alligators.

“These are very, very difficult conditions. You're looking in areas where you just can't walk and look. It's not like you're searching a house or a car, ”he said. "These areas are huge and covered by water."

The exhaustive search for Laundrie dragged on for more than a month as authorities tried to piece together what happened to him and Petito during their trip through the western United States this summer.

Petito, 22, disappeared on the trip amid tensions in their relationship, and his remains were later found in Wyoming, near where the couple had last been seen. Teton County Medical Examiner Dr. Brent Blue ruled his death a homicide and said he died from manual strangulation.

Laundrie, who had returned to his parents' home in Florida alone, refused to speak to investigators and then disappeared into the nature preserve. He has not been seen since September 13.

He has not been charged with his death, although he was accused of allegedly using two financial accounts that did not belong to him in the days after Petito's murder.

Authorities, including several K-9 units and SUVs, returned to the reserve Thursday morning to search the area. A medical examiner arrived at the reservation on Wednesday and formal identification of the remains could take some time.

A source close to the investigation told CNN that the alleged human remains "appear to have been there for a while."

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