Duane "Dog" Chapman hopes the discovery of Brian Laundrie's remains brings "closure" to Gabby Petito's family. On Wednesday, the FBI and local police found skeletal remains and items at Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, which were later confirmed to belong to Laundrie. The park is near Carlton Reserve, where authorities focused their search after Laundrie's parents reported him missing in September.
"The positive ID of Brian Laundrie's remains gives some measure of closure to this case, if not to Gabby's family who will likely now never know what truly happened," the Dog the Bounty Hunter star said in a statement to Newsweek. "We are praying for Gabby's family. As a parent who has also lost a child, I know there's no ending to this story that brings Gabby back. But now the family can begin the process of grieving. Our thoughts are with them."
A day after announcing remains were found at Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, the FBI said dental records confirmed the remains were Laundrie's. Searchers also found a backpack and notebook belonging to the 23-year-old, who was the person of interest in Petito's death. North Port, Florida police spokesman Josh Taylor told CNN the notebook has not been opened. One source said the notebook is "possibly salvageable," but it was "outside of the dry bag" and was "clearly wet." When asked if there was still a search ongoing for Petito's murderer, Taylor told CNN that was "certainly not in the North Port Police Department's purview."
Petito's parents last heard from her in late August. On Sept. 1, Laundrie returned to his parents' North Port home in the white van the couple was using to drive across the country, but without Petito. The 22-year-old's parents' reported her missing on Sept. 11, and Laundrie was named a person of interest in her death on Sept. 15. Two days later, Laundrie's parents reported him missing. On Sept. 6 and 7, Laundrie and his parents took a trip to Fort De Soto Park, where Chapman began his search for Laundrie.
Petito's remains were found in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming on Sept. 19. An autopsy found the manner of death was homicide by strangulation. Laundrie was not charged with her murder, but a Wyoming federal court issued a warrant for his arrest for allegedly using a debit card not belonging to him between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1.
Richard Stafford, an attorney for Petito's family, said they do not plan to give interviews yet. "They are grieving the loss of their beautiful daughter," Stafford told CNN. "Gabby's family will make a statement at the appropriate time and when they are emotionally ready."