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Manhunt Over: FBI Confirms Human Remains Are Brian Laundrie

The Moab Police Department via AP

The Gabby Petito saga is over. Yesterday, human remains were found in the nature preserve that Brian Laundrie disappeared into days before Petito's body was recovered. FBI confirms that the remains belong to Brian Laundrie. He's dead. 

Laundrie was suspected of murdering Petito, his fiancée, though the warrant for his arrest stemmed from unauthorized use of Gabby's debit card. Petito disappeared in late August. On September 19, her body was recovered in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. The two had been documenting their "van life" travels for social media. The medical examiner ruled Petito's death a homicide. She had been strangled. On September 14, Laundrie reportedly ventured into the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County, Florida. He was reported missing by his parents three days later. 

For weeks, there was a nationwide manhunt for Laundrie. Even Dog the Bounty Hunter got in on the hunt. The case has always been bizarre concerning Laundrie's parents, who just so happened to find belongings and the remains of their now-dead son yesterday (via NBC News): 

After weeks of searching, authorities have finally made progress in the hunt for Brian Laundrie, who is wanted in the disappearance of his fiancée, Gabby Petito — and the break in the case came from Laundrie's parents.

Investigators located partial human remains Wednesday at the Carlton Reserve, a sprawling Florida wildlife refuge that is Laundrie's last known location. This came after Laundrie's parents directed FBI agents and North Port police to an area where "some articles belonging to Brian were found," according to a statement Wednesday by Laundrie’s family’s attorney Steven Bertolino. He said the Laundries found the items "in an area where they had initially advised law enforcement that Brian may be."

A senior law enforcement source told NBC News that the remains were found near a backpack that may have belonged to Laundrie, 23. Other items thought to have belonged to Laundrie, including a notebook, "were found in an area that up until recently had been under water," Michael McPherson, special agent in charge of the FBI's Tampa office, said.

Dental records confirmed the identity of the skeletal remains (via Fox News): 

The FBI on Thursday confirmed remains recovered from the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in North Port, Florida, on Wednesday were Florida fugitive Brian Laundrie's. 

A comparison of dental records confirmed the 23-year-old's identity, according to the FBI.

Laundrie's former fiancée Gabby Petito, 22, turned up dead near a Wyoming campsite the couple shared in late August.


The Laundries themselves helped lead police to the remains, visiting the park Wednesday with a pair of officers and searching an area where they have for weeks insisted their son liked to hike. With water levels significantly lower this week than on Chris Laundrie’s Oct. 7 visit to the same area with investigators, more ground was visible.

It's a bittersweet ending, as the Petito family won't see justice carried out. Then again, Laundrie is dead, so maybe they can take relief in the fact that the only person of interest in the death of their child rotted away in a swamp. 

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