‘This is tragic’: Authorities in Brian Laundrie case thank crews, send prayers to families day after unidentified remains found

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FLORIDA (WJW/AP) — The attorney for the family of Brian Laundrie said the “probability is high” that the partial human remains found Wednesday are those of the missing 23-year-old, Fox News reports.

Steve Bertolino also told Fox News that he and Laundrie’s parents were “always cooperating with law enforcement in respect to locating Brian.”

Authorities held a press conference at just before 11:30 a.m. Thursday during which they thanked law enforcement and search crews for their assistance in the case. They did not confirm whether they believe the remains found are those of Laundrie.

“It’s challenging times,” said Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno. “I know everybody wants to know exactly what’s going on every second possible. All of America is watching. But we’ll never, never jeopardize an investigation to give that info out until the time is right.”

Marceno added: “Our thoughts and prayers are with Gabby and the families here. This is tragic, but I will tell you this tragedy brings us all together.”

The remains were found Wednesday along with a backpack and a notebook linked to Laundrie. The items were found in a swampy area that had previously been underwater.

Michael McPherson, chief of the Tampa FBI office, said forensic teams will likely be on site for several days.

Laundrie’s parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, took part in the search Wednesday with the FBI and police from North Port, Florida, more than a month after Laundrie was reported missing.

Laundrie, 23, is a person of interest in the killing of Gabby Petito, who was reported missing Sept. 11 by her parents while the couple was on a cross-country trip out West.

Petito’s body was found Sept. 19 on the edge of Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, which the couple had visited. The coroner there concluded she died of strangulation and her body had been where it was found for three or four weeks.

The couple was stopped Aug. 12 by police in Moab, Utah, after they had a physical altercation, but no charges were filed.

Laundrie returned home alone Sept. 1 in the Ford van the couple took on their trip. He was reported missing after telling his parents on Sept. 14 that he was going for a hike in the Carlton Reserve, a nature preserve in Sarasota County that has for weeks been a key area in the search.

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