What appears to be human remains and items belonging to Brian Laundrie, including a backpack, have been found in the Carlton Reserve in North Port, Florida, according to FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael McPherson.
Another one of the items found was a notebook belonging to Laundrie, who McPherson said was “a person of interest in the murder of Gabby Petito.”
The apparent remains were found in an area that has been underwater until recently, he said.
A source close to the investigation states that the apparent human remains “appear to have been there a while.”
The source said “based on the condition of the remains, it may take some time to officially identify. It is going to be a very thorough process with the medical examiner.”
North Port police spokesperson Josh Taylor said the remains were found “about 2 to 3 miles inside the Carlton Reserve, or about a 45-minute walk” from the entrance at Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park.
Family attorney Steve Bertolino told CNN’s Chris Cuomo that the Laundrie parents — making their first visit to the park since its reopening — helped with the discovery. “As happenstance was, they stumbled upon these items,” he said.
The area where the discovery of remains was made was the “very area of the park that we initially informed law enforcement on,” Bertolino said, referring to a meeting with law enforcement on September 17.
Laundrie’s parents had informed the FBI and the North Port Police Department on Tuesday night that they intended to come to the park on Wednesday, October 20, 2021, to search for him, Bertolino said. Law enforcement met them there Wednesday morning, he said.
The parents walked the trail followed closely by law enforcement personnel, “certainly within eyeshot,” the attorney said.
“As they went further in, Chris ventured off the trail into the woods. He was zigzagging in different areas, law enforcement was doing the same thing. And Roberta Laundrie was walking down the trail,” Bertolino said. “At some point, Chris locates what’s called a dry bag.
The dry bag is a white bag, laying in the woods, say 20 feet or so off the trail.”
Bertolino said, according to Chris Laundrie, the dry bag was in some brambles and he didn’t want to pick up the bag, because he wanted his law enforcement to see it. However, Bertolino said Laundrie “couldn’t find the law enforcement,” because they were then out of sight and didn’t want to leave the bag there with a news reporter standing nearby, so he picked it up.
“He did meet up shortly with law enforcement, they looked at the contents of the bag. At that time, law enforcement officers showed him a picture on the phone of a backpack that law enforcement had located also nearby and also some distance off the trail,” Bertolino said.
“At that point, the Laundries were notified there was also remains near the backpack, and they were asked to leave the preserve.”
Bertolino called the suggestion that Chris Laundrie had planted the dry bag “hogwash.”
The attorney said the family was heartbroken by the discoveries today.