FBI: Human remains found in Fla. belong to Brian Laundrie

FILE - This Aug. 12, 2021 file photo from video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Brian Laundrie talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with his girlfriend, Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito, near the entrance to Arches National Park. Laundrie, the boyfriend of Gabby Petito, whose body was found at a national park in Wyoming after a cross-country trip with him, has been charged with unauthorized use of a debit card as searchers continue looking for him in Florida swampland, federal authorities announced Thursday, Sept. 23, 2021. (The Moab Police Department via AP, File)

FILE – This Aug. 12, 2021 file photo from video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Brian Laundrie talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with his girlfriend, Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, near the entrance to Arches National Park. (The Moab Police Department via AP, File)

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UPDATED 3:42 PM PT – Thursday, October 21, 2021

On Thursday, the human remains found in the Florida reserve were confirmed by the FBI to be Brian Laundrie. The FBI said they were able to confirm the remains belonged to the 23-year-old using dental records.

This comes after authorities discovered skeletal remains at the Carlton Reserve on Wednesday, along with a backpack and a notebook belonging to Laundrie.

The confirmation ends a month-long, nationwide manhunt for the fugitive after he went missing a few days before officials discovered the remains of his former fiancé, 22-year-old Gabby Petito.

Petito was found dead in mid-September following their cross country van trip together. However, Laundrie returned home without her and had been missing ever since and is the only person of interest in the case.

A Wyoming coroner released the autopsy results regarding Petito’s cause of death. Teton County coroner Brent Blue made the announcement, noting her cause of death was manual strangulation. This means it was done not with a ligature, but most likely with someone’s hands. This also means there could potentially be latent DNA that could help lead investigators to a suspect.

“In the matter of death of Gabrielle Venora Petito, we find the cause and manner to be, cause death by strangulation and manner is homicide,” Blue stated. “By Wyoming state statue, only the cause and manner of death can be released. The autopsy findings and photographs and that sort of material is not released by state statute.”

The coroner said officials came to that consensus after a full body cat-scan and evaluations by pathologists, anthropologists and toxicologists. Additionally, he estimated the strangulation took place three-to-four weeks before her body was found.

The Laundrie family has faced immense scrutiny by the public after claims surfaced that they may have known more about their missing son’s whereabouts then they led on. Their family attorney confirmed the suspect and his parents went camping together nearly a week after he returned home without Petito. A public records request revealed Laundrie’s mother checked in at Fort de Soto Park in early September, which lies about 75 miles from the family’s home in North Port, Florida.

Petito’s family has created the Gabby Petito Foundation in her memory. Donations can me made through the web page.

“We’re just hoping that through our tragedy with losing Gabby that, in the future, that some good can come out of it, that we can help other people that may be in a similar situation, reach out to these other organizations that do similar things and find out what’s missing,” expressed Petito’s stepfather Jim Schmidt. “What can we do to fill that void? What can we do to help people?”

Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, said they want his daughter’s name to be remembered for something positive and not just for this tragedy. He noted, “we can’t let her name be taken in vain.”

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