Brian Laundrie investigation: What comes next now that remains have been identified?

Sarasota County

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NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) — Less than 24 hours after authorities identified the partial human remains found in the Carlton Reserve as those of 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, police activity appeared to wind down. There were no police blocking the entrance to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park Friday.

North Port City officials tell 8 On Your Side the park will reopen to the public Saturday morning. Sarasota County’s Carlton Reserve was already back open to the public Friday afternoon, according to county officials.

The search for Brian Laundrie officially came to a close Thursday evening when the FBI announced “a comparison of dental records confirmed that the human remains found at the T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park are those of Brian Laundrie.”

The skeletal remains were discovered Wednesday morning along with personal items belonging to Laundrie, such as a backpack and a notebook.

Laundrie was the only person of interest named in his fiancée Gabby Petito’s murder.

Former FBI Special Agent in Charge Timothy Gallagher, who is now a managing director at Kroll, explained to 8 On Your Side that the FBI’s work is far from over.

“We now have a person of interest who is deceased and which can be linked to the homicide. It doesn’t end there. The FBI will put together a homicide case,” Gallagher said. “They are going to be looking to put together the case and who is responsible and if that is Brian. But they need to continue to go where the evidence takes them. If that includes folks who were involved after the fact, there could be charges that are brought up for those individuals as well.”

Shortly after the remains were discovered Wednesday, Eagle 8 HD captured footage of areas of focus taped off in the Carlton Reserve. The FBI explained that its evidence response team would be out processing the area, utilizing forensic resources.

Gallagher, who worked on an evidence response team during his 22 years with the FBI, told us those agents were likely searching for any other clues that could give them an idea as to what happened.

“Every piece of evidence there will be exploited to its fullest and trying to draw a picture of where was Brian in the days leading up to this, who was he talking to and look to see what if there someone else involved,” he said.

The main priority for authorities, Gallagher said, is bringing this case to a close.

“The FBI will be working tirelessly to bring this to a close and bring justice for the Petito family,” the former FBI special agent told us.

There have been many questions about what may have been written inside Laundrie’s notebook and what other evidence was discovered in the reserve. Gallagher said there’s a chance we may never know.

“In a typical criminal case, once charges are brought, there will be an indictment which will speak to the elements of the crime and there will be information that will come out. [For example] there was a notebook, in that notebook was found the following writings on the following date, there was clothing which had DNA on it, that sort of thing,” Gallagher explained. “That would all come out in the charging documents.”

But we may not see that here, he said.

“If there is no criminal charges brought, that will not happen,” he added. “Whether or not that information becomes public may not be up to the FBI, it may be up to the family or the lawyers who represent the families to speak to the information that was found. But the information that has developed, as I said, will be in the charging documents, but absent that, we may not see.”

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