Search for Brian Laundrie: Possible human remains found, officials say

Posted at 12:47 PM, October 20, 2021 and last updated 8:11 PM, July 17, 2023

NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFTS) — The FBI confirmed possible human remains were found at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park Wednesday afternoon. The possible human remains were found in the same area belongings of Brian Laundrie were found on Tuesday.


According to the FBI, Laundrie’s notebook and backpack were found in an area that was previously covered by water. The Laundrie family attorney confirmed the items were found Tuesday morning at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park near a trail that he frequented.

The medical examiner’s office in Sarasota was called to the preserve Wednesday afternoon, the office confirmed to ABC Action News.

Forensics will investigate the human remains, however, it could take a while before they are identified, the FBI said. It is unknown if those remains are Laundries, the FBI added.

It’s a confirmation that retired FBI Tampa Special Agent Brian Kensel says may be coming soon. He tells ABC Action News that the presence of the Special Agent in Charge, Michael McPherson, at Wednesday’s press conference is telling.

“That, within the FBI is unusual unless it’s a major development. And that alone tells me that the belief is within law enforcement is that they’ve found Brian Laundrie,” he said.

That said, true confirmation of that will take time. Kensel says it all depends on if the remains are human and what condition they were found in.

“Depending on what portions of a body were found will determine how you’ll make an identification,” he said.

This police camera 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 on Aug. 12, 2021. The couple was pulled over while they were having an emotional fight. Petito was reported missing by her family a month later and is now the subject of a nationwide search. (The Moab Police Department via AP)

In the meantime, portions of the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park and Carlton Reserve will remain closed to the public as officials continue their investigation.

The lawyer Steven Bertolino released the following statement on Wednesday:

“Chris and Roberta Laundrie went to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park this morning to search for Brian. The FBI and NPPD were informed last night of Brian’s parents’ intentions and they met Chris and Roberta there this morning. After a brief search off a trail that Brian frequented some articles belonging to Brian were found. As of now law enforcement is conducting a more thorough investigation of that area.”

The search for Laundrie has been ongoing for more than a month. A federal arrest warrant was issued for Laundrie by U.S. District Court of Wyoming in September following the death of his fiance Gabby Petito.

The warrant was for violation of the federal statute “use of unauthorized access devices.”

Laundrie and Petito were on a cross-country trip over the summer when he returned to his parent’s North Port home, where they both lived, without her. Petito was reported missing on September 11 and her body was found in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton on Sunday, September 19. The body was confirmed to be that of Petito on September 21.

The Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue announced on October 11 that her cause of death was manual strangulation/throttling and ruled the manner of death a homicide.

Bertolino said he had no comment when asked about the medical examiner’s office being called to the park.

This story was originally published October 20, 2021, by WFTS in Tampa Bay, an E.W. Scripps Company.