Manhunt ends with discovery of Brian Laundrie’s remains

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WATCH ABOVE: NewsNation’s Brian Entin answers viewer questions about the latest in the Brian Laundrie and Gabby Pettito investigations.

NORTH PORT, Fla. (NewsNation Now) — The manhunt for Brian Laundrie ended after his skeletal remains were identified Thursday. The remains were found Wednesday after more than a month of searching the 24,000-acre Florida reserve.

The FBI announced dental records proved the remains were Laundrie’s. Personal items, including a backpack and a notebook believed to belong to Laundrie, were also found at the reserve.

“Chris and Roberta Laundrie have been informed that the remains found yesterday in the reserve are indeed Brian’s,” Steven Bertolino told NewsNation in a statement. “We have no further comment at this time and we ask that you respect the Laundries’ privacy at this time.“

As the only person of interest in Gabby Petito’s death, experts say the case may go cold.

“It may ultimately be a cold case that’s never revived, Brian may still be the person of interest, but the facts surrounding this would beg to differ,” Attorney Steven Capriati told NewsNation affiliate WFLA. “The investigation could go on indefinitely.”

However, the investigation into his death and Petito’s death continues. Capriati says the FBI will investigate to see if Laundrie’s parents were involved, or if anyone else from North Port to Utah was involved.

“If there’s someone else involved the FBI will investigate that and will see what culpability they have,” Capriati said. “The parents of Gabby and attorneys will have answers soon and I hope they do, and I hope law enforcement can bring this case to a conclusion, but I think it’ll take some time.”

It had been weeks since any firm new details emerged in the case as authorities searched for the boyfriend of Gabby Petito. Laundrie’s parents say they last saw him Sept. 13, when they said he drove to the 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve. He was reported missing Sept. 17.

The Carlton Reserve connects to the 160-acre Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, which is a heavily wooded area near an interstate freeway. North Port police said the remains were about a 45-minute hike north into the Carlton Reserve.

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Petito, 22, vanished while on a cross-country road trip with Brian Laundrie in a converted camper van. The trip was well-documented on social media until it abruptly ceased, allegedly somewhere in Wyoming.

Petito was reported missing Sept. 11 by her parents after she did not respond to calls and texts for several days. Petito’s body was found Sept. 19 just outside Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. A Teton County coroner said earlier this month that Petito died by strangulation three to four weeks before her body was found.

The FBI had issued an arrest warrant for Laundrie. He was wanted for “use of unauthorized access device” related to his activities following Petito’s death. The FBI says he used a debit card and a PIN to access two bank accounts Aug. 30 and Sept. 1.

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