The attorney for Brian Laundrie's family is dismissing allegations that Laundrie's parents played the evidence found at Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in Florida on Wednesday before the 23-year-old's remains were discovered. Within hours of searching the park on Wednesday, Laundrie's parents Chris and Roberta discovered a white bag and another unspecified item. Authorities also discovered a backpack and notebook belonging to Laundrie closer to the partial human remains confirmed to be his.
Since Chris and Roberta discovered the evidence they found so quickly and so close to the park endurance on Wednesday, there was speculation on social media that they planted it. "It's nonsense," their lawyer, Steve Bertolino, told PEOPLE. In a separate interview with Fox News Thursday, Bertolino also said it was unlikely that his clients planted the two items.
"When I spoke to them Tuesday night, they said, 'We want to go in the preserve tomorrow,'" Bertolino explained. "What do I think about that? I told them it was a great idea, and I thought we should notify law enforcement so there's no issue." He then texted authorities, who thanked him for the heads-up. "And as you could see, law enforcement was there on Wednesday morning," Bertolino said.
Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park and the nearby Carlton Reserve had been the focus of authorities' search for Laundrie, who went missing on Sept. 13. The park only recently re-opened to the public on Tuesday and Wednesday was the first time Chris went to the park since Oct. 7. The FBI said the items and Laundrie's remains were not found earlier because the items were found in an area that was underwater until recently. "Our evidence response team is on scene using all available forensic resources to process the area," Michael McPherson, special agent in charge of the FBI's office in Tampa, told Fox News. "It's likely the team will be on scene for several days."
Investigators also found a backpack and notebook that belonged to Laundrie. Police spokesperson Josh Taylor told CNN the notebook hasn't been opened yet on Thursday. A source close to the investigation told CNN the notebook is "possibly salvageable," although it was "clearly wet." Investigators will "use any potential means to dry that before opening it," the source said.
Dental records were used to confirm the human remains belonged to Laundrie, the FBI said Thursday. "Chris and Roberta Laundrie have been informed that the remains found yesterday in the reserve are indeed Brian's," Bertolino said. "We have no further comment at this time and we ask that you respect the Laundrie's privacy at this time."
The family of Gabby Petito has not commented. Petito, 22, was engaged to Laundrie and they spent most of the summer driving across the country. Petito's family last heard from her in late August and reported her missing on Sept. 11. On Sept. 19, her remains were found in a Wyoming national park. Her autopsy found she was strangled and homicide was listed as her manner of death. Laundrie was named a person of interest in her death.