Brian Laundrie’s remains are likely in Florida park, family lawyer says

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Authorities found a backpack and notebook believed to belong to Laundrie, 23, near the suspected remains as they searched the Carlton Reservation in North Port, FBI Special Agent Michael McPherson said.

More than a month after his disappearance, McPherson said Laundrie was “a person of interest in the murder of Gabby Petito”.

Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that “there is a high probability that these are Brian’s remains” found by the FBI.

“It’s pretty sad, you can imagine as a parent finding your son’s belonging next to the leftovers. It must be heartbreaking. And I can tell you they are heartbroken,” he said. he said Wednesday.

The find comes amid an exhaustive search of Laundrie as authorities attempt to piece together what happened to Petito, 22, who was found dead by strangulation after traveling through the western United States in a van white this summer and was subsequently reported missing.

A medical examiner arrived at the scene on Wednesday, and a formal identification could take some time. A source close to the investigation told CNN that the suspected human remains “appeared to be there for some time.”

“Depending on the condition of the remains, official identification may take some time. It will be a very thorough process with the forensic pathologist,” the source said.

The apparent remains were found in an area that was underwater until recently, McPherson said, which could potentially make the identification process longer.

This is “the very area of ​​the park that we initially briefed law enforcement on,” Bertolino said, referring to a meeting with law enforcement on September 17.

Brian Laundrie’s parents were at the scene when remains were found

Bertolino told CNN that Laundrie’s parents – Chris and Roberta Laundrie – helped law enforcement find items in the park, which he described as “a fluke.”

According to the lawyer, Laundrie’s parents informed the FBI and the North Port Police Department on Tuesday evening that they wanted to visit the park on Wednesday morning to search for their son.

Here's what we know about Brian Laundrie's disappearance
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Law enforcement met them there and accompanied them closely as they entered the park, Bertolino said.

“As they walked further, Chris ventured off the trail into the woods. He zigzagged through different areas, law enforcement was doing the same. And Roberta Laundrie was walking the trail,” Bertolino said. .

“At one point, Chris locates what’s called a dry bag. The dry bag is a white bag, lying in the woods, say about 20 feet from the trail.”

Bertolino said, according to Chris Laundrie, the dry bag was in brambles and he didn’t want to wind it up because he wanted his law enforcement to see it. However, Bertolino said Laundrie “couldn’t find the law enforcement” because they were out of sight by then and didn’t want to leave the bag there with a reporter standing nearby, so he did. picked up.

“He met shortly after the police, they examined the contents of the bag. At that time, the police showed him on the phone a picture of a backpack that the law enforcement had also located near and some distance from the trail, ”Bertolino told CNN.

“At that time, the laundries were informed that there were also some remains near the backpack, and they were asked to leave the storeroom.”

North Port police blocked the entrance to Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on Wednesday.

The suspected remains were found “about 3 to 3 miles inside the Carlton Preserve, or about a 45-minute walk” from the entrance to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, police spokesman said. from North Port, Josh Taylor.

When asked why the parents chose to go to the park on Wednesday, Bertolino said it was the first day it was reopened to the public.

“The parents had assumed that the experts, the FBI, and whatever tracking teams they had would be able to locate Brian based on the information we provided to them about the specific areas and trails in the park that Brian liked to visit. “said Bertolino. noted. “The park had been closed to the public. There really was no other reason for the laundries to look elsewhere.

The young couple traveled together before they disappeared

Laundrie has been the subject of a public examination in recent months since Petito went missing in September and was later found dead. The family had refused to speak publicly after legal advice, their lawyer said.

Timeline of the case of Gabby Petito, 22

The young couple posted regularly on their social media accounts as they traveled through the western states. But those messages ceased at the end of August, and Laundrie returned solo on September 1 to their home in North Port, where they lived with her parents.

The national search for Petito ensued after his family reported his disappearance on September 11 after being unable to contact them.

Petito’s remains were found in a Wyoming national forest on September 19, near where the couple were last seen together. Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue ruled her death a homicide and said she died by manual strangulation.

During the search for Petito, Laundrie refused to cooperate with the investigation of his whereabouts, and soon after he disappeared as well. His family told investigators they believed he had visited a large nature reserve nearby.

CNN’s Eric Levenson, Rebekah Riess, Jon Passantino, Steve Almasy, Rob Frehse and Madeline Holcombe contributed to this report.

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