FBI: Suspected human remains found at Myakkahatchee Park, medical examiner called to reserve

Published: October 20, 2021 12:24 PM EDT
Updated: March 24, 2022 2:14 PM EDT

An FBI special agent has announced they found what appears to be human remains in an area that was filled with water at the Carlton Reserve where authorities have been searching for Brian Laundrie.

FBI Special Agent in Charge Michael McPherson said items, including a backpack and a notebook, were also found.

The area known as the Carlton Reserve will remain closed to the public, McPherson said.

“We are working diligently to get all of the answers for you,” McPherson said.

Authorities have been searching for Laundrie since Sept. 17 when his parents reported him missing. He was last seen on Sept. 13. Laundrie is wanted for misusing a bank card belonging to 22-year-old Gabby Petito who was found killed by strangulation in Wyoming. Laundrie is also a person of interest in her homicide.

Petito’s family declined to comment on the discovery.

Gabby Petito (Credit:
Joseph Petito)

The suspected human remains at the nature reserve have not been officially confirmed to belong to a human or animal at this time.

The Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino told WINK News the Laundrie parents went to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, an area that connects to the reserve, Wednesday morning to search and were joined by law enforcement.

Bertolino confirmed that Chris Laundrie found a dry bag of Brian’s in the park but law enforcement are the ones who found a backpack and remains nearby.

The nature park was closed for more than a month as law enforcement searched for 23-year-old Laundrie but it reopened on Tuesday only to close again after Wednesday’s discovery.

The Sarasota County Medical Examiner’s Office was also called out to the nature park.

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

It’s unknown how long it will take authorities to identify the remains.

Watch the FBI Tampa statements on the recent findings Wednesday in the player below or click here.


The items were found off a trail that Laundrie was known to frequent.

Here is the full statement from Bertolino:

Chris and Roberta Laundrie went to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park this morning to search for Brian.  The FBI and NPPD were informed last night of Brian’s parents’ intentions and they met Chris and Roberta there this morning.  After a brief search off a trail that Brian frequented some articles belonging to Brian were found. As of now law enforcement is conducting a more thorough investigation of that area.

WINK News Safety and Security Specialist Rich Kolko, a retired FBI specialist, said the FBI will likely use all of their resources and technology to search the area.

“It’s going to take days to finish this mission,” Kolko said.

Kolko said agents have a ground zero of where the backpack and remains were found and they will likely spread out from there to search for more.

“There are a lot of scavenging animals there,” Kolko said. “They may have separated parts of the body that needs to be recovered.”

FGCU forensics expert and professor David Thomas said if the remains are Laundrie’s some questions may never be answered.

“We want to know the motive because we want the package to be tied up nice and tight; we want it to be sealed and closed,” Thomas said.

Once the discovery of remains was announced, protesters showed up at the Laundrie home, hoping to pressure the family for information.

The parents remained indoors.