Human remains were found in the same area as personal belongings of Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito’s fiancé who’s been missing for over a month, officials said Wednesday.
A senior law enforcement official says what appears to be partial human remains have been found in Florida’s Carlton Reserve in a location that was previously under water.
There is no confirmation the remains belong to Laundrie.
The FBI are processing the scene, saying in a statement Wednesday, “Items of interest were located at the Carlton Reserve this morning in connection with the search for Brian Laundrie.”
“Earlier today investigators found what appears to be human remains along with personal items, such as backpack and notebook, belonging to Brian Laundrie,” Michael McPherson, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Tampa office, told reporters. “These items were found in an area that up until recently had been under water.”
Laundrie’s parents directed FBI agents and North Port police to the location where “some articles belonging to Brian were found,” according to a statement by Laundrie attorney Steven Bertolino.
“Chris and Roberta Laundrie went to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park this morning to search for Brian,” Bertolino said.
“The FBI and NPPD were informed last night of Brian’s parents’ intentions and they met Chris and Roberta there this morning. After a brief search off a trail that Brian frequented some articles belonging to Brian were found. As of now law enforcement is conducting a more thorough investigation of that area.”
The local medical examiner and a K9 unit trained to find human remains were called to the scene, the Pasco County Sheriff’s Office said.
The Carlton Reserve and neighboring Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park are within short drives north of the Laundrie family home.
Laundrie is considered a person of interest in the disappearance of Petito. But an arrest warrant was issued for him after authorities said he used her debit card without permission.
Her body was discovered on Sept. 19 at the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming, and a coroner ruled her death a homicide by “manual strangulation.” Petito had been dead for at least three weeks, the coroner said.
Petito and Laundrie were on a cross-country road trip, chronicling their travels on social media, before he returned to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida, arriving there Sept. 1 without his fiancée, police said.
Laundrie’s parents have kept a low profile ever since, telling investigators their son went hiking Sept. 14 and never returned, sparking a national manhunt.
During the search for the 22-year-old Long Island woman, police in Moab City, Utah, released body camera video capturing a distraught Petito following an alleged physical altercation with Laundrie.
This is a developing story please refresh here for updates.
Pete Williams is an NBC News correspondent who covers the Justice Department and the Supreme Court, based in Washington.
Michael Kosnar is a Justice Department producer for the NBC News Washington Bureau.
David K. Li is a breaking news reporter for NBC News.