News & Culture

MANHUNT OVER: Brian Laundrie’s remains discovered in Florida

VENICE, Fla. — The manhunt for Brian Laundrie is over as authorities confirmed that the human bones found Wednesday belonged to the main person of interest in the murder of Gabby Petito, his former fiancee.

“On October 21, 2021, a comparison of dental records confirmed that the human remains found at the T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park are those of Brian Laundrie,” the FBI said in a news release.

The environmental park is adjacent to the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve, a Sarasota County park about 13 miles from the North Port home Laundrie shared with his parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, and where the search for him has been ongoing for the last 34 days.

It is not known how Laundrie, 23, died or how many of his bones were found. A notebook and backpack were also retrieved. The area was recently under water.

Thursday’s discovery continued to fuel conspiracy theories centered on speculation that Chris and Roberta helped Brian disappear after he killed Petito.

A new theory is that the couple, who have yet to make a public statement, planted the bones when they searched the park Wednesday in order to throw off investigators.

Their attorney fired back Thursday, calling the accusation “bullsh-t.”

“Do you really think the Laundries had skeletal remains of their son, you know, in a plastic bag and brought them to present to the (Carlton Reserve)?” Steven Bertolino said on “NewsNation Prime.” “Do you realize how ludicrous that is, how aggravating, how maddening it is to even hear those things? Maybe somebody with a platform should step up and say, ‘Hey, knock it off. This is just silly.’ …It’s bullsh-t. And I’m sorry if John Q Public doesn’t get that.”

Laundrie’s parents told police he went for a hike in the reserve Sept. 13. They reported him missing Sept. 17. Local, state and federal search teams began scouring the heavily wooded and swamp next day.

Brian Laundrie returned home alone Sept. 11 from a cross-country van trip he embarked on with Petito on July 2. She was found strangled to death in Wyoming last month.

While Laundrie was not charged with murder, he was wanted on a federal warrant for allegedly using someone else’s debit card. It has not been confirmed that the card belonged to Petito although her family claimed he used it to finance his trip back to Florida.