“We have no further comment at this time and we ask that you respect the Laundries' privacy at this time,” the FBI statement said.
The discovery of the remains concluded a massive search involving federal, state and local law enforcement that began shortly after Laundrie disappeared Sept. 14, two weeks after the 23-year-old returned alone to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida.
The investigation into Petito’s slaying, however, is not yet concluded. But only Laundrie has ever been identified by law enforcement officials as a person of interest in the case.
Petito’s family reported her missing Sept. 11, launching a search that garnered worldwide media attention and, in Laundrie’s case, focused largely on the Carlton Reserve wilderness park near the Laundrie home. It is a densely wooded, swampy area that’s home to alligators, coyotes, bobcats, snakes and numerous other creatures.
The couple first met as teenagers on Long Island, New York, and more recently moved to Florida’s Gulf Coast to live with his parents.
They first gained an online following while on their trip in a converted Ford Transit van in videos filled with happy scenes that may have concealed deeper problems. After Petito disappeared, the case became a true-crime obsession on social media.
The intense focus on Petito’s case has led to renewed calls for people to pay greater attention to cases involving missing Indigenous women and other people of color. Petito, 22, was white.
The coroner in Wyoming concluded Petito 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 domestic violence charges were filed. The police department there is conducting an internal review to determine if policy was followed.
Laundrie returned home alone Sept. 1 in the van the couple took on their trip. The van was later impounded by authorities. He was reported missing after telling his parents he was going for a hike in the Carlton Reserve.
Dozens of unconfirmed tips poured into authorities about spotting Laundrie from Wyoming to the Appalachian Trail, but none panned out.
The remains were found Wednesday as searches concentrated on the nearby Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, where a Ford Mustang that Laundrie drove to the wilderness was found. That park is directly adjacent to the Carlton Reserve, both of which are about 35 miles south of Sarasota, Florida.