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TAMPA (WFLA) – The remains of Brian Laundrie were sent to an anthropologist because medical examiners could not determine his cause of death, according to his attorney, Steven Bertolino.
Investigators have not said exactly what condition the remains were in when they found them on Wednesday.
The remains found Wednesday were skeletal. Law enforcement officials told NBC News the remains include “a portion of a human skull, badly decomposed.”
The FBI announced they used dental records to confirm the remains belonged to Laundrie.
A forensic anthropologist specializes in getting answers about the end of someone’s life when they are not obvious.
The partial remains that Vega and his team were attempting to identify were found Wednesday in the Carlton Reserve area. According to the FBI, they were found near personal items – including a backpack and a notebook – belonging to Brian Laundrie.
Bertolino, the attorney representing Laundrie’s family, said Wednesday night that the 23-year-old’s parents were with search crews when the items were found. According to Bertolino, Laundrie’s dad Chris found the bag containing some of his son’s items and officers found the backpack on the other side of the trail.
While the remains have not officially been identified, Bertolino told CNN’s Chris Cuomo Wednesday night that there’s a “strong possibility” the remains are Brian Laundrie.
North Port Public Information Officer Josh Taylor said the remains found Wednesday were found in the Carlton Reserve – about a 40-minute hike north of the foot bridge leading in. Crews had been searching in the Carlton Reserve as well as the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, which is connected to the reserve.
According to the FBI, the area where the remains and the items belonging to Laundrie were found was underwater until recently. During the weeks-long search for Laundrie, law enforcement crews spoke often about the difficulty of the terrain in the nature reserve.
Laundrie was the lone person of interest in the disappearance of his fiancée Gabby Petito. The couple, who lived in North Port with Laundrie’s parents, had been on a cross-country road trip together out west over the summer.
According to police, Laundrie returned home without Petito on Sept. 1. Petito was officially reported missing on Sept. 11. Her body was found in Wyoming on Sept. 19 and her death was ruled homicide by manual strangulation.
Laundrie himself was reported missing by his parents on Sept. 17, two days after he was named a person of interest. When Laundrie’s parents reported him missing, they told police they had last seen him leave home to go to the Carlton Reserve area for a hike on Tuesday, Sept. 14. The family’s attorney later said that, after further communication with the FBI, the Laundries believed their son left home to go hiking on Sept. 13.
With Laundrie dead, some experts are worried there may not be enough evidence to know how Gabby Petito, his girlfriend, died.
“If there’s someone else involved the FBI will investigate that and will see what culpability they have,” Attorney Steven Capriati told News Channel 8. “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.”