Brian’s Laundrie’s remains found: What happens next?

Sarasota County

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NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) — The discovery of Brian Laundrie’s remains could mean more unanswered questions about his fiancée Gabby Petito’s disappearance and death.

On Thursday, the FBI’s Denver office confirmed on Twitter that remains found at the Carlton Reserve on Wednesday belong to the 23-year-old, who was a person of interest in Petito’s killing.

“Chris and Roberta Laundrie have been informed that the remains found yesterday in the reserve are indeed Brian’s,” Steven Bertolino, the attorney representing the Laundrie family said.

“Chris and Roberta Laundrie are parents they are just people they have feelings they have children one of their children has just been confirmed as dead its sad under any circumstances,” the attorney later told NBC News.

Gabby Petito’s family’s attorney said they were “grieving the loss of their beautiful daughter.”

“Gabby’s family will make a statement at the appropriate time and when they are emotionally ready,” the lawyer added.

Laundrie’s parents had initially led investigators to the Carlton Reserve, saying Laundrie had gone for a hike there on Sept. 13 and never returned. That was two weeks after he returned home alone from his cross-country trip with Petito. 

Days after he went missing, authorities found Petito’s remains at a campsite in Wyoming. A coroner ruled she died by strangulation.

Laundrie was named a person of interest in Petito’s death with authorities believing he held answers to questions about her final days. A notebook found with some belongings near his remains could offer some clues.

The FBI said the items were found in an area that was previously submerged in water.

The FBI said its evidence recovery team will return to the reserve Friday in hopes of finding more clues in the area where the items were found.

Former prosecutor Steven Capriati is not involved in the case, but says, “the investigation could go on indefinitely.”

“As they go and decide Brian was responsible and there’s no one else they can blame, then that’s the end and the family will have to live with it and it’s a tragic incident,” Capriati said. “If there’s someone else involved the FBI will investigate and will see what culpability they have.”

Chris and Roberta Laundrie have not been charged with a crime, but there’s been much speculation on social media about their potential involvement.

“All of the criminal charges are going to be extraordinarily difficult to prove for the government,” Mark O’Mara, a criminal defense attorney and former prosecutor told News Nation before Laundrie’s remains were identified. “One, they don’t have Brian’s testimony. If he’s passed, obviously, and (the) Laundries themselves are not going to testify about what they knew or didn’t know. So we would all have to be from outside or extraneous evidence that somehow they can prove by their actions, maybe by phone messages, maybe by some forensic evidence, that there was ongoing contact.” But proving a case based on such evidence would be “very, very difficult.”

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