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Apparent human remains found after Brian Laundrie's possessions located in Florida nature reserve

Laundrie, considered a person of interest in the Gabby Petito case, has been missing for five weeks.
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Human remains were found in the same area as personal belongings of Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito’s fiancé, who has been missing for over a month, officials said Wednesday.

A senior law enforcement official said that what appear to be partial human remains have been found in Florida's Carlton Reserve in a location that had previously been submerged.

There is no confirmation that the remains are those of Laundrie.

"Earlier today investigators found what appears to be human remains along with personal items, such as a backpack and notebook, belonging to Brian Laundrie," Michael McPherson, special agent in charge of the FBI's Tampa office, told reporters.

"These items were found in an area that up until recently had been under water," he said.

Laundrie's parents directed FBI agents and North Port police to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park where "some articles belonging to Brian were found," Steven Bertolino, an attorney for the Laundrie family, said in a statement.

"Chris and Roberta Laundrie were at the reserve earlier today when human remains and some of Brian’s possessions were located in an area where they had initially advised law enforcement that Brian may be," Bertolino said in another statement Wednesday evening.

"Chris and Roberta will wait for the forensic identification of the human remains before making any additional comments."

Bertolino said in a phone interview with CNN Wednesday night that "the probability is strong that it is Brian's remains, but we're going to wait for the forensic results [to] come in and verify that."

The local medical examiner and a K9 unit trained to find human remains were called to the scene, the Pasco County Sheriff's Office said.

The Carlton Reserve and neighboring Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park are short drives north of the Laundrie family home. Parts of both areas are expected to be closed to the public "for several days" as investigators comb the area, McPherson said.

"I know you have a lot of questions, but we don't have all the answers yet," McPherson said. "We're working diligently to get those answers for you."

Laundrie is considered a person of interest in Petito's disappearance. An arrest warrant was issued after authorities said he used her debit card without permission.

Petito's body was discovered Sept. 19 at the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming; a coroner ruled her death a homicide by "manual strangulation." Petito had been dead for at least three weeks, the coroner said.

Petito and Laundrie were on a cross-country road trip, chronicling their travels on social media, before he returned to his parents' home in North Port, arriving Sept. 1 without his fiancée, police said.

Laundrie’s parents have kept a low profile ever since, telling investigators that their son went hiking mid-September and never returned, sparking a national manhunt.

During the search for Petito, 22, police in Moab City, Utah, released body camera video capturing a distraught Petito after an alleged physical altercation with Laundrie.