Brian Laundrie Search: FBI Confirms Remains Belong to Gabby Petito Ex-Boyfriend

Authorities in Florida confirmed that remains discovered on a Florida recreational trail on Oct. 20 were those of Brian Laundrie, the 23-year-old fugitive who has been on the run since his girlfriend was killed last month. Laundrie has been missing since Sept. 17, and police suspected he had fled into a wilderness recreation area near his home in Florida. On Wednesday, the FBI called a press conference to lay out the new evidence they have discovered there. Dental records from the remains confirm that it is Laundrie.

Special Agent in Charge of the search for Laundrie, Michael McPherson, told reporters that searchers found "what appears to be human remains" in the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota, Florida on Wednesday. They also found a backpack and personal items which apparently belonged to Laundrie, all in an area which was just recently underwater. While these are promising leads, he said that they have not drawn any conclusions yet, and they will continue to conduct forensic investigations for at least a few days. He declined to answer any questions, and asked the public to give investigators the time and space needed to be thorough.

Laundrie was reported missing on Sept. 17, three days after he initially left for a nearby nature preserve on Sept. 14 and his parents retrieved his Mustang from the area. Speculation about his location, his parents and other details have left authorities and onlookers with questions.

Petito's remains were discovered two days later, on Sept. 19, in Bridger-Teton National Forest, Wyoming, with her death ruled a homicide. The cause of death is still pending, but authorities quickly labeled Laundrie a person of interest. The FBI would later confirm a federal arrest warrant for the missing 23-year-old, though not on charges connected to Petito's death.

Laundrie had been reportedly captured previously on the trail cam of an anonymous Florida resident, leading to a post on social media that hoped to help find him. "I'm not saying this is the guy but whoever was on my trail camera this morning in Baker, Florida strongly fits the description of Brian Laundrie," it read. "Authorities have been contacted but people in the North West Florida area be on the lookout."


Other tips placed Laundrie all over the country in the past few weeks, though it was difficult to discern the legitimate sightings from the mistakes — if there were any. Searchers discovered items they believed were Laundrie's in the Myakkahatche Creek Environmental Park recently, and that park connects to the Carlton Reserve. Searchers have previously said that the manhunt for Laundrie was complicated by the swampy nature of Florida hiking trails, which could obscure evidence and tracks.

Laundrie was wanted by federal authorities for illegally using Petito's debit card after her death, but he was only considered a "person of interest" in the investigation into her murder. Petito's family has advocated for other victims of murder and domestic violence to receive the same level of support that they have seen over the last few weeks.