Brian Laundrie’s cause of death remains under investigation. But the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) confirmed this afternoon that the skeletal remains found in Florida’s Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, adjacent to the Carlton Memorial Reserve, were indeed Laundrie’s.
The FBI said dental records helped identify the remains.
Steven Bertolino, the lawyer representing the Laundrie family, released a statement upon the identification of Laundrie’s remains.
“Chris and Roberta Laundrie have been informed that the remains found yesterday in the reserve are indeed Brian’s,” he said, per ABC News. “We have no further comment at this time and we ask that you respect the Laundries’ privacy at this time.”
Searchers Found Brian Laundrie’s Remains After His Parents Cooperated with Authorities
Laundrie’s decomposing corpse turned up Wednesday after his parents decided to speak to North Port police and FBI agents, with whom they had earlier declined to cooperate. They helped search teams comb the trails they knew their son liked to hike.
Besides Laundrie’s body, search teams also came across Laundrie’s backpack and notebook. The items had “until recently been underwater,” FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael McPherson said, according to UPI.
Laundrie had been a person of interest in authorities’ investigation into the disappearance and death of his girlfriend Gabby Petito. Her body was found in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest on Sept. 19. The cause of death was strangulation.
Shortly before Petito’s body turned up, Laundrie went missing. His parents told authorities he went on a hike in the Carlton Reserve and never came back.
“Gabby’s family is not doing interviews or making a statement at this time,” Rick Stafford, a lawyer for Petito’s family, said Wednesday. “They are grieving the loss of their beautiful daughter. Gabby’s family will make a statement at the appropriate time and when they are emotionally ready.”
Petito and Laundrie Had Embarked on a Cross-Country Road Trip
This summer, traveling in a white Ford converted camper van, Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie made their way westward across the country. Petito had been blogging and posting to social media about their travels.
By the time they reached Utah, things were starting to fall apart. Police stopped the couple in Moab, Utah after a 9-1-1 caller reported seeing Laundrie hit Petito. But police determined the couple were going through a shared mental health crisis, and they separated them for a night before sending them on their way.
Petito’s final social media post went up on Aug. 25. Two days later, diners at the Merry Piglets restaurant in Wyoming reportedly witnessed Laundrie getting into a heated verbal exchange with waitstaff while a distraught Petito looked on. By Sept. 1, Laundrie had returned to his parents’ house in Florida alone.
Once he got home, Laundrie lawyered up and refused to speak to anyone about Petito’s whereabouts. Her family reported her missing on Sept. 11. But by Sept. 17, Laundrie had disappeared.
A survival expert told the Sarasota Herald-Tribune that the Carlton Reserve and surrounding areas are tough terrain for humans. And while Laundrie’s cause of death may have been self-inflicted, the nature preserve also does play host to a variety of dangerous animals, including alligators, rattlesnakes, panthers, bobcats and coyotes.
“If he’s down there in the Carlton Reserve, he’s living in hell,” Mark Burrow said.