Gabby Petito: 'Human remains' found in Brian Laundrie search

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Image source, EPA
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Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito

Investigators leading a search for the missing fiancé of a murdered US blogger have found apparent "human remains" in a Florida park, the FBI has said.

Agents said items belonging to Brian Laundrie, who is a person of interest in Gabby Petito's death, were also found during the search.

Mr Laundrie has been missing for over a month after returning to Florida from a joint trip without his partner.

Her body was later found in Wyoming, where the couple had been travelling.

In a news conference on Wednesday, FBI special agent Michael McPherson confirmed that investigators had found "what appears to be human remains" on a search in the Carlton Reserve area.

He said the remains were discovered along with personal items including a backpack and notebook belonging to Mr Laundrie.

"These items were found in an area that up until recently had been underwater," he added.

Officials say the remains have not yet been identified and a search of the area is ongoing.

The case of Ms Petito, 22, and Mr Laundrie, 23, has sparked widespread media attention.

The couple had spent their summer on a road trip through national parks, documenting their nomadic "van life" trip on social media.

Ms Petito's parents reported her missing on 11 September after they were unable to contact her since the end of August.

It eventually emerged that Mr Laundrie had returned to Florida without Ms Petito on 1 September. Her family repeatedly appealed for her fiancé and his family to cooperate with investigators, but he then went missing himself.

His parents told police they last saw him on 13 September - when he went hiking alone and never returned.

Ms Petito's body was eventually discovered in Wyoming on 19 September. A coroner ruled last week that she had been strangled to death and left for weeks before her body was found.

Mr Laundrie has not been charged with crimes relating to Ms Petito's killing, however, the FBI has issued a federal arrest warrant and charged him with fraudulently using her debit card after her death.

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Watch: Can TikTokers solve Gabby Petito's killing?

A lawyer for Mr Laundrie's parents confirmed they were in the area where the items were discovered on Wednesday.

"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," Steve Bertolino said.

He added the couple would "wait for forensic identification of the remains" before commenting further.

Mr Bertolino earlier told reporters that "some articles" had been discovered on a trail frequented by Mr Laundrie within a park where a car driven by him was earlier discovered.

The FBI's Tampa field office tweeted after the discovery that the nature reserve was closed to the public.

FBI special agent Michael McPherson said that officers would likely be processing the scene for several days.

"I know you have a lot of questions, but we don't have all the answers yet," he told the media.

The plight of Gabby Petito has captured global attention and triggered a debate over the amount of attention accorded to missing white women compared with other missing persons.

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