Partial human remains were found on Wednesday in a Florida wilderness area where authorities were searching for Brian Laundrie, the fiance of Gabby Petito, a young woman who disappeared on a road trip with Laundrie, the FBI said on Wednesday.
They also found items believed to belong to Laundrie after his parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, took part in the search with the FBI and police, more than a month after Laundrie was reported missing after heading to the vast Carlton Reserve park.
“Investigators found what appeared to be human remains, along with personal items … belonging to Brian Laundrie,” the FBI said in a statement. The remains have not been identified.
The items were found in the Myakkahatchee Creek environmental park as the search continued for clues in the killing of Petito, whose body was found in a remote part of Wyoming in late September. FBI investigators in Florida were working at Carlton Reserve, which is near the park, the agency’s Tampa division said.
The Sarasota county medical examiner’s office confirmed that officials had been summoned to the reserve after the items were found.
Laundrie, 23, is a person of interest in the killing of Petito, who was reported missing on 11 September by her parents while the couple was on a cross-country trip out west.
The case generated enormous public interest but also raised uncomfortable questions over the unequal attention given to the hundreds of cases of Native American and other minority women missing or murdered across the United States. Petito is white.
Laundrie had been missing since 14 September, two weeks after he returned home alone from the cross-country trip. His parents said he left their house in North Port with a backpack, but left behind his wallet and cellphone.
Laundrie’s disappearance prompted days of searching in the swampy Carlton Reserve wilderness park by scores of FBI agents and law-enforcement teams using drones, sniffer dogs and underwater equipment.
In late September, Laundrie was charged in his absence with the unauthorized use of a debit card.
He was indicted by a federal grand jury for allegedly using a Capital One Bank card and someone’s personal identification number to make unauthorized withdrawals or charges worth more than $1,000 while Petito was missing.