Remains in Florida confirmed as those of Gabby Petito’s missing boyfriend

Brian Laundrie was ‘person of interest’ after Petito was killed during their cross-country van trip

An image from a police bodycam shows Brian Laundrie (L) speaking with police as they responded to an altercation between Mr Laundrie and his girlfriend Gabrielle Petito. Image: Moab City Police Department/AFP via Getty Images

An image from a police bodycam shows Brian Laundrie (L) speaking with police as they responded to an altercation between Mr Laundrie and his girlfriend Gabrielle Petito. Image: Moab City Police Department/AFP via Getty Images

 

Partial human remains found in a Florida wilderness area have been identified through dental records as belonging to the boyfriend of murdered travel blogger Gabby Petito, the FBI said.

The remains of Brian Laundrie were discovered on Wednesday in the swampy Carlton Reserve not far from his parents’ home. Police and FBI agents had been searching for him there since his family reported him missing in mid-September.

Mr Laundrie had been named a “person of interest” in Ms Petito’s disappearance but was never criminally charged in her murder. A federal grand jury in Wyoming charged him on September 23rd on a single count of fraudulently using her bank debit card.

Ms Petito’s disappearance in late August during a cross-country “van life” road trip with Mr Laundrie was followed closely by Americans as the case became an internet sensation and then a tabloid mystery.

Ms Petito (22) was last been seen alive on August 26th. Her body was discovered on September 19th near the remote Spread Creek Dispersed Campground in Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming. Medical examiners found she had been strangled.

A still image from a police bodycam shows Gabrielle Petito speaking with police as they responded to an altercation between Ms Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie. Photograph: AFP PHOTO/Moab City Police Department
A still image from a police bodycam shows Gabrielle Petito speaking with police as they responded to an altercation between Ms Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie. Photograph: AFP PHOTO/Moab City Police Department

Her remains were found less than 300m (1,000ft) from where, on the evening of August 27th, another pair of travel bloggers caught video images of the couple’s 2012 white Ford Transit van parked along a dirt road.

Ms Petito and Mr Laundrie, who lived with Mr Laundrie’s parents in North Port on Florida’s west coast, embarked on their trip in early July from New York’s Long Island, where they had both attended high school.

As they travelled through Kansas, Colorado, Utah and points west, Ms Petito documented their trip on social media with videos and pictures.

On August 12th, a 911 caller reported Mr Laundrie was slapping and hitting Ms Petito in front of the Moonflower Community Cooperative in Moab, Utah.

Moab police stopped the van on a highway near Arches National Park. Body camera footage showed Ms Petito crying as she described an argument that escalated into her slapping Mr Laundrie as he drove. The officers did not detain the couple but told them to spend the night apart.

Ms Petito posted her final photo to Instagram on August 25th, the same day she last spoke to her mother by phone. The family believes the couple was headed to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming at the time. – Reuters