Remains of Brian Laundrie Found and Identified
The odds of ever getting the full truth in the Gabby Petito murder just went to nearly zero, as the remains of Brian Laundrie were found and identified.
For weeks, local, state and federal agencies have combed Carlton Reserve, a roughly 25,000-acre wetlands area in Sarasota County. When his family reported him missing, they told police he left his home for the vast park.
On Wednesday, the same day his parents visited the park to assist with the search, authorities said they had found his backpack, notebook and other belongings near the entrance to the park, in an area that had previously been inaccessible due to flooding.
In addition to the deluge of water, officials described “treacherous conditions” at the park where Laundrie’s remains were found.
“We’re talking about water levels up, above the chest area,” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said Thursday. “Rattlesnakes, moccasins, alligators.”
Despite complications, the massive search for Laundrie has attracted attention at a national scale, from amateur detectives to law enforcement.
Petito’s disappearance after the couple’s cross-country trip drew online interest for more than a month and highlighted inequities in missing person cases. Internet sleuths tried to piece together clues from the “#vanlife” enthusiast’s social media posts. Petito and Laundrie were on a months-long cross-country road trip, and they were last known to be together in Grand Teton, Wyo., on Aug. 25, heading toward Yellowstone National Park.
The 22-year-old woman’s body was found Sept. 19 in a remote area of Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming, and her death was ruled a homicide by strangulation.
No one has been charged in her death. A federal grand jury in Wyoming indicted Laundrie last month after determining that he used “one or more unauthorized devices,” including a debit card and PIN numbers for two bank accounts, to fraudulently obtain more than $1,000.
Police in Moab, Utah, had stopped the couple after reports they had a physical altercation. Officers separated Laundrie and Petito for the night, but no charges were filed.
Three weeks later, Laundrie returned home alone in the white van the couple took on their trip. The van was registered to Petito. Ten days later, her family reported her missing.
With his lawyer’s advice, Laundrie refused to cooperate with the authorities, despite pleas from Petito’s family and police.
Laundrie did not speak to police before he left for Carlton Reserve on Sept. 14.