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TAMPA (WFLA) – The FBI announced Wednesday afternoon that Brian Laundrie is a person of interest in the murder of Gabby Petito.
The announcement was made following the discovery of partial human remains in an area of the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County that had been underwater until recently.
“As you’re aware, the FBI and the North Port Police Department and our state and local law enforcement partners have been searching the area of the Carlton Reserve for Brian Laundrie, a person of interest in the murder of Gabby Petito,” FBI Tampa Division Special Agent in Charge Michael McPherson said.
Last month, the FBI issued an arrest warrant for Laundrie, who was previously named a person of interest in the homicide investigation of Petito.
Law enforcement officials searching for Laundrie Wednesday said they found Laundrie’s backpack and notebook near where the remains were discovered.
The Sarasota County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed it had been called to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park by police Wednesday afternoon. The environmental park connects to the Carlton Reserve.
The search for Laundrie has been focused on the environmental park which is connected reserve for more than a month now. Search crews had previously cited difficulties maneuvering through the massive area due to some sections being underwater.
McPherson said that portions of Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park and Carlton Reserve will remain closed to the public due to ongoing investigation. McPherson noted evidence response teams are expected to remain on-site for several days.
“I know you have a lot of questions, but we don’t have all the answers yet. we are working diligently to get those answers for you,” McPherson said.
The Laundrie’s family attorney Steve Bertolino told 8 On Your Side both of Laundrie’s parents, “were at the reserve earlier today when human remains and some of Brian’s possessions were located in an area where they had initially advised law enforcement that Brian may be. Chris and Roberta will wait for the forensic identification of the human remains before making any additional comments.”