Skeletal remains found in Florida's Carlton Reserve on Wednesday are those of Brian Laundrie, the FBI's Denver office confirmed on Thursday. Dental records were used to make the identification.
Laundrie, 23, had been missing since mid-September. Laundrie and his fiancée Gabby Petito, 22, went on a road trip during the summer, and when Laundrie returned to his family's Florida home in early September without Petito, her parents reported her missing. Laundrie refused to speak with law enforcement officials, then vanished after telling his family he was going to hike in the nature reserve. Petito's body was discovered in Wyoming on Sept. 19, with her death ruled a homicide. Laundrie was a person of interest in the case, but was not charged with Petito's death.
The FBI said Laundrie's backpack and notebook were found near his remains. Law enforcement officials looking for Laundrie in the nature reserve had to make their way through difficult conditions, wading through water filled with alligators and snakes, CNN reports. "You're searching in areas that you just can't walk up and look," Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said. "It's not like you're searching a house or a car. These areas are huge and they're covered by water."