For weeks now, local police, along with the FBI, have been searching the expansive Carlton Reserve near North Port, Florida for any sign whatsoever of Brian Laundrie.
Laundrie went “missing” just hours ahead of the announcement that authorities had found his fiancée Gabby Petito’s body in Birdger-Teton National Park, not far from a location in which the two had camped.
His parents, who had similarly refused to cooperate with police regarding Gabby’s disappearance and death, told police that Brian has simply “gone hiking” in the reserve and never come home.
And so, after weeks of K-9’s, and helicopters, and all the most sophisticated equipment scouring the wilderness, Brian Laundrie’s dad stumbled upon something huge on Wednesday.
The FBI confirmed to reporters in Florida Wednesday that investigators found what appear to be human remains, “along with personal items, such as a backpack and notebook belonging to Brian Laundrie,” just hours after Laundrie’s parents searched the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park.
“These items were found in an area that, up until recently, had been underwater. Our evidence response team is on scene using all available forensic resources to process the area,” said Michael McPherson, special agent in charge of the FBI’s Tampa division. “It’s likely the team will be on scene for several days.”
He also identified Laundrie specifically as “a person of interest in the murder of Gabby Petito.”
But here is where things take a turn for the truly bizarre:
During the couple’s time inside the park, [Brian’s father] Chris Laundrie could be seen continually moving in and out of areas of the brush. After a short while, he and Roberta Laundrie separated, with Chris and the two men moving into brush on the left side of the trail for approximately 12 minutes.
Chris returned without law enforcement, and the couple continued on. The Laundries later discovered a white bag and a dark-colored object after traveling through a patch of brambles at the edge of the brush at a clearing. They then could be seen putting the object into the bag and handing it over to the law enforcement officer shortly thereafter.
On their way out of the park, the couple made a phone call and then received a call.
The news of the discovery was certainly a step toward some sort of conclusion in the case, but the coincidences of the search and the discovery had many social media users crying foul.