Report: Partial human remains found in area of search for Brian Laundrie

TAMPA, FL. (WHEC/WFLA/AP)— A senior law enforcement official says what appears to be partial human remains have been found in the Carlton Reserve in a location that was previously underwater, though it’s not clear to whom they belong.

The remains were found near a backpack, the source said, that may be consistent with the type of items that Brian Laundrie may have had in his possession at the time he disappeared. There is no confirmation the remains found are Laundrie. Confirmation of identity will require further forensic analysis.

According to WFLA in Tampa, the Sarasota County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed it is in the area where items belonging to Laundrie were reportedly found Wednesday.

A family attorney told WFLA "articles" of Laundrie’s were found but did not share specifics.

Petito, 22, died three to four weeks before her body was found Sept. 19 near an undeveloped camping area along the border of Grand Teton National Park in remote northern Wyoming. A coroner determined she was strangled.It wasn’t clear if the determination might lead to additional charges for Laundrie.

Petito and Laundrie posted online about their trip in a white Ford Transit van converted into a camper. They got into a physical altercation Aug. 12 in Moab, Utah, that led to a police stop, which ended with police deciding to separate the quarreling couple for the night. No charges were filed, and no serious injuries were reported.

Investigators have searched for Laundrie in Florida and also searched his parents’ home in North Port, about 35 miles (56 kilometers) south of Sarasota.

Federal officials in Wyoming last month charged Laundrie with unauthorized use of a debit card, alleging he used a Capital One Bank card and someone’s personal identification number to make unauthorized withdrawals or charges worth more than $1,000 during the period in which Petito went missing. They did not say to whom the card belonged.

Asked about the coroner’s determination, the attorney for the Laundrie family, Steven Bertolino, in a statement noted his client only faces the fraud charge in the case.

"At this time Brian is still missing and when he is located we will address the fraud charge pending against him," Bertolino said.

In Florida, FBI-led search teams have been looking in a vast nature preserve for any sign of Laundrie. Weeks of searching in the swampy Carlton Reserve south of Sarasota – where Laundrie’s parents say he went after returning home from the West – have turned up nothing.