Human Remains Found in Search for Brian Laundrie, Along with His Backpack, Notebook
Authorities searching a Florida park for Brian Laundrie have discovered human remains, along with a backpack and notebook belonging to the 23-year-old fugitive, PEOPLE confirms.
Michael McPherson of FBI Tampa announced the news during a Wednesday press conference. He did not confirm whether the remains, found in Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, were Laundrie's.
The area in which the remains were found had previously been underwater, he said.
McPherson said an evidence response team is on the scene, and likely will be there for several days.
McPherson did not answer questions following his statement. After the brief press conference, a small crowd of people, some seated in lawn chairs, chanted "Justice for Gabby!"
Prior to the discovery of the remains, the Sarasota County medical examiner's office and a cadaver dog were sent to the park after several items belonging to him were found there on Wednesday, Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino confirmed to PEOPLE.
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Laundrie's parents had searched the park with officials from the FBI and the North Port, Fla., police, Bertolino said.
Laundrie is the subject of a search after the death of his 22-year-old fiancée, Gabby Petito, whose body was found in Wyoming in August. Authorities have said Petito died by strangulation, labeling her death a homicide. Laundrie has been named a person of interest in Petito's case.
Laundrie was allegedly last seen on Sept. 13, when he left his parents' North Port, Fla. home, saying he was going on a hike at nearby Carlton Reserve, a 25,000-acre nature preserve consisting primarily of swampy wetlands. Carlton Reserve is close to Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park.
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He is currently considered a fugitive. A warrant for his arrest was issued in late September, accusing Laundrie of unauthorized use of a debit card. His family's attorney has said his parents have no idea where he is.
Petito — a Long Island, N.Y. native — and Laundrie had embarked on a cross-country journey in July, traveling from Florida to New York in her white Ford van, then heading west. Petito documented their adventures on her YouTube channel and planned to start a blog about their new, so-called "vandwelling" lifestyle.