“human remains” and personal effects belonging to Brian Laundrie found in a park

The investigation into the murder of young traveler Gabby Petito, a case that has fascinated America for weeks, entered a decisive phase on Wednesday with the discovery of “human remains” and objects belonging to her fiancé, untraceable since weeks, in a Florida nature reserve.

“Investigators found what appear to be human remains along with personal items like a backpack and notebook belonging to Brian Laundrie” in an area that was “until recently underwater,” said Michael McPherson, special agent of the federal police.

He did not specify to whom these “human remains” might belong. Actively wanted, Brian Laundrie is considered a “person of interest” in the investigations into the disappearance of Gabby Petito, killed at 22 years old. His girlfriend’s body was found near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

“I know you have a lot of questions, but we don’t have all the answers yet,” McPherson added, in a short speech broadcast live by US media.

The forensic scientists will remain there “probably for several days”, said the head of the investigation.

Earlier, the Tampa FBI had announced the discovery of “objects related to the investigation” in the Carlton Reserve, near Sarasota, without giving further details. Laundrie family lawyer Steven Bertolino had told him the property belonged to the young man.

Brian Laundrie’s parents visited the site on Wednesday morning, he added.

Extraordinary media echo

Documenting her journey through the great outdoors of the American West on social media, Gabby Petito disappeared in August while traveling with her fiancé, sparking great emotion and questioning about the role played by Brian Laundrie, who was returned home alone in Florida.

According to the autopsy report, Gabby Petito was strangled.

Described as “person of interest in the investigation,” Brian Laundrie, 23, initially refused to answer questions from the police.

He had finally disappeared too, and had been missing for weeks.

Brian Laundrie was charged with fraudulent use of a bank card and federal police issued an arrest warrant.

A video released in September by police in Moab, Utah, had heightened the disturbance over the young man’s personality.

“She gets annoyed sometimes”, he declared in particular to the agents, called for a marital dispute, while Gabby Petito appeared in tears, in a car.

The announcement of these new elements in the investigation was widely covered Wednesday by American televisions, which dispatched helicopters to film the search area.

The disappearance of Gabby Petito, then the manhunt to find her boyfriend, has been the subject of abundant media coverage, and a torrent of publications on social networks, Internet users having mobilized to try to find the girl.

Since Brian Laundrie had vanished, reports had been given by Americans believed to have seen Brian Laundrie across the country.

The extraordinary media coverage of the case had sparked a controversy over the disproportionate attention given to the disappearances of white women compared to those from minorities.

 
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