Gabby Petito: ‘Human remains’ discovered in Brian Laundrie search

Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito

Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito

Investigators leading a search for the missing fiance of a strangled to death US blogger have discovered apparent “human remains” in a Florida park, the FBI has said.

Agents also said items belonging to Brian Laundrie, who is a person of interest in Gabby Petito’s death, were also discovered during the search operation.

Mr Laundrie has been missing for more than a month after returning to Florida from a joint trip without his partner.

Her remains was later found in Wyoming, where the couple had been travelling.

FBI special agent Michael McPherson confirmed in a news conference on Wednesday, that investigators had discovered “what appears to be human remains” while on a search in the Carlton Reserve area.

He said further that the remains were found along with personal items including a backpack and notebook belonging to Mr Laundrie.

“These items were found in an area that up until recently had been underwater,” he declared.

Authorities say the remains have not yet been established and a search of the area is ongoing.

The case of Ms Petito, 22, and Mr Laundrie, 23, has triggered global media attention.

This couple had just spent their summer on a road trip through national parks, documenting their nomadic “van life” trip on social media.

Ms Petito’s parents declared her missing on 11 September after they were unable to contact her since the end of August.

It eventually happened that Mr Laundrie had returned to Florida without Ms Petito on 1 September. Her family over and over again appealed for her fiance and his family to cooperate with investigators, but he then went missing himself.

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His parents informed police they last saw him on 13 September – when he went hiking alone and never returned.

Ms Petito’s body was eventually found in Wyoming on 19 September. A coroner ruled last week that she had been strangled to death and left for weeks before her body was discovered.

Mr Laundrie has not been charged with crimes in connection to Ms Petito’s killing, nevertheless, the FBI has issued a federal arrest warrant and charged him with criminally using her debit card after her death.

A lawyer for Mr Laundrie’s parents affirmed that they were in the area where the items were found on Wednesday.

“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,” Steve Bertolino said.

He said also that the couple would “wait for forensic identification of the remains” before further comment.

Mr Bertolino told the reporters earlier that “some articles” had been found on a trail often visited by Mr Laundrie within a park where a car driven by him was earlier found.

After the discovery that the nature reserve was closed to the public, the FBI’s Tampa field office tweeted.

FBI special agent Michael McPherson stated that officers would likely be processing the location for some days.

“I know you have a lot of questions, but we don’t have all the answers yet,” he told the media.

The plight of Gabby Petito has attracted global concern and triggered a debate over the amount of concern accorded to missing white women compared with other missing persons.

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