NORTH PORT, Fla. — The FBI confirmed Thursday evening the remains found at the T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Environment Park are those of Brian Laundrie.
According to the FBI, the confirmation was done with a comparison of dental records.
Search crews were at the southwest Florida preserve Thursday, one day after apparent human remains were discovered near where items belonging to Gabby Petito's fiancé were found, authorities announced.
"These items were found in an area that up until recently had been underwater," FBI Special Agent Michael McPherson said.
McPherson added the FBI's Evidence Response Team will likely be on scene for several days to process the area.
Laundrie was the sole suspect in the disappearance of Petito, whose body was found last month in Wyoming.
The FBI did not list a cause of death and it was not clear how long the remains may have been submerged in water.
Thursday evening the Laundrie's family attorney said, “Chris and Roberta Laundrie are parents. They are just people. They have feelings, they have children. One of the children has just been confirmed as dead. It's sad under any circumstances. Gabby Petito notwithstanding, for any family, for any parent out there this is a loss of a loved one. They're grieving.”
Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said earlier Thursday the conditions in the preserve are "treacherous" with chest-high water levels, rattlesnakes, water moccasins, and alligators.
"These are very, very difficult conditions," Marceno said. "You're searching in areas that you just can't walk up and look. It's not like you're searching a house or a car. These areas are huge and they're covered by water."
WATCH NEWS CONFERENCE:
Chris and Roberta Laundrie went to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on Wednesday morning to search for the 23-year-old.
The FBI and North Port police met Laundrie's parents, and after a brief search off a trail that Laundrie frequented, some of his belongings were found.
Law enforcement officers conducted a more thorough search of the environmental park, and the Sarasota County Medical Examiner's Office was summoned to the scene.
“It’s hard. I’ve cried some tears for Gabby. It's sad. It's a sad story, the whole thing is sad. All of it," said Jayne Kornburger, who lives near the reserve.
BREAKING UPDATE: Apparent human remains found in same area where some of Brian Laundrie's personal belongings were found, officials say. https://t.co/42ZMS0mXti— NBC News (@NBCNews) October 20, 2021
The Pasco County Sheriff's Office said the human remains detection team was requested by North Port police to assist with the search. The sheriff's office said the team consisted of one dog, a handler, and two spotters.
The search for Laundrie had been ongoing for more than a month. A federal arrest warrant was issued for Laundrie by the U.S. District Court of Wyoming in September following the death of Petito.
Laundrie was wanted for the unauthorized use of a debit card, which would allow authorities to arrest him if he's found alive.
Authorities said Laundrie used a Capital One Bank card and someone’s personal identification number to make unauthorized withdrawals or charges worth more than $1,000. The warrant does not say to whom the card belonged or what type of charges were made.
Laundrie and Petito were on a cross-country trip over the summer when he returned to his parent's North Port home — where Laundrie and Petito both lived — without her.
Petito was reported missing on Sept. 11 and her body was found in Wyoming's Bridger-Teton National Forest on Sept. 19. The body was confirmed to be that of Petito on Sept. 21.
Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue announced on Oct. 11 that Petito's cause of death was manual strangulation/throttling and ruled her manner of death a homicide.
Laundrie was a person of interest in the killing of Petito.
The Petito family has not released any comment.