NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) – On Thursday the FBI identified human remains found in a Florida nature preserve as Brian Laundrie, the lone person of interest in the disappearance of girlfriend Gabby Petito.
The search for Laundrie started after the 23-year-old disappeared Sept. 14. Two weeks earlier, Laundrie returned to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida, alone, with the van that he and Petito had been using on a cross-country road trip. Petito’s remains were found in Wyoming after her parents reported her missing Sept. 11.
On Wednesday, investigators found partial human remains next to a backpack and a notebook belonging to Laundrie. This is a timeline of what we know about the investigation and the search for Laundrie:
July 2: Road trip begins
Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie left Blue Point, New York, on July 2 to start their cross-country road trip.
The couple documented their travels in photos and videos posted to their Instagram accounts and their “Nomadic Statik” YouTube channel.
Aug. 12: Argument in Utah
The Moab City Police Department in Moab, Utah, responded to a witness report of an argument and physical altercation involving Laundrie and Petito on Aug. 12.
Police recommended the couple spend the night apart. Petito stayed with the van while police helped Laundrie get a hotel room in Moab.
Aug. 17 – 23: Laundrie flies home
Laundrie flew home to Tampa from Salt Lake City on Aug. 17, according to an attorney for his family. The attorney said Laundrie went home to “obtain some items and empty and close the storage unit to save money as they contemplated extending the road trip.”
According to the attorney, Laundrie returned to Salt Lake City to “rejoin Gabby” on Aug. 23.
Aug. 30 – Sept. 1: Laundrie allegedly uses debit card
Laundrie is accused of “unauthorized” use of a Capitol One Bank debit card and a personal identification number for two bank accounts between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1 in Wyoming and elsewhere, according to federal court documents. The documents said he obtained “things of value aggregating to $1,000 or more” using the accounts.
Sept. 1: Laundrie returns alone
Police said Laundrie returned to his parent’s North Port home on Sept. 1 without Petito. A license plate reader at the Sumter Boulevard exit of I-75 detected the white van entering the City of North Port at approximately 10:26 a.m., according to a search warrant.
Sept. 4: Laundrie gets new phone
Laundrie purchased a new phone and opened an account with AT&T on Sept. 4, according to family attorney Steven Bertolino. When asked if Laundrie had a phone while traveling out west with Petito, Bertolino told WFLA he didn’t know.
Sept. 6: Laundrie family goes camping
According to public records, Laundrie’s mother checked into a campground at Ft. De Soto Park on Sept. 6. According to the Laundrie’s family attorney, the family camped from Sept. 6 through Sept. 7 and they all left the park together.
Sept. 11: Petito reported missing, police visit Laundrie home
Concerned family members reported Gabby Petito missing to Suffolk County Police in New York on Sept. 11. They say they had tried filing a missing person report with the North Port Police Department one day earlier.
North Port police confirmed they recovered the van that Laundrie and Petito had been traveling in at the Laundrie family’s home that night. When police visited the home, they did not speak to or see Brian, and the family only handed over information for their attorney, a spokesperson said.
Sept. 13: Laundrie leaves home
Laundrie’s parents believe they saw him leave home to go hiking on Sept. 13 – one day earlier than they had originally told police when they reported him missing, the family’s attorney said.
“The Laundries were basing the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events,” Steve Bertolino said. “Upon further communication with the FBI and confirmation of the Mustang being at the Laundrie residence on Wednesday, Sept. 15, we now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday, Sept. 13.”
North Port officers said Laundrie is believed to have entered the Carlton Reserve at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park.
Sept. 14: Abandoned vehicle notice
Laundrie’s family originally said he was last seen on Sept. 14 when he left home wearing a hiking bag with a waist strap, according to police. According to North Port police, an abandoned vehicle notice was placed on the Laundries’ Mustang outside the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on Sept. 14 at 2:42 p.m. ET.
Sept. 15: Laundrie named person of interest
Laundrie was officially named a “person of interest” in Petito’s disappearance by North Port police on Sept. 15 as he refused to cooperate with the investigation.
Sept. 16: North Port police news conference
North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison voiced his frustration with the lack of answers on Gabby Petito’s disappearance in a news conference on Sept. 16.
“Two people went on a trip. One person returned. And that person that returned isn’t providing us any information,” he said.
A reporter asked Chief Garrison at the news conference, “Do you know where Brian Laundrie is right now?” Garrison responded, “Yes.”
Sept. 17: Laundrie reported missing
A family attorney for the Laundries confirmed Sept. 17 that the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie were unknown.
“The FBI is currently at the Laundrie residence removing property to assist in locating Brian. As of now, the FBI is now looking for both Gabby and Brian,” the attorney said in a statement.
That statement came after police spent more than two hours at the Laundrie family home, at the family’s request.
Sept. 18: Search for Laundrie
North Port police and the FBI started searching the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County on Sept. 18 for Laundrie.
The initial search focused on the 200 acres at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, where police said Laundrie was believed to have entered the reserve. The search then expanded into the Carlton Reserve, which encompasses 25,000 acres.
Sept. 20: Police tape off Laundrie home
Police officers and FBI agents swarmed the Laundrie family home on Sept. 20. A statement from the FBI said agents were “executing a court-authorized search” at the home related to the Petito investigation. Petito’s remains had been found one day before.
Sept. 23: Federal arrest warrant issued
A federal arrest warrant was issued for Laundrie on Sept. 23. The warrant came after a federal grand jury indicted Laundrie for his activities following Petito’s death.
Sept. 25: FBI visits Laundrie family home
The FBI took personal items belonging to Laundrie on Sept. 25 to aid in the ongoing investigation into his whereabouts, according to the family’s attorney.
Sept. 26: Laundrie search scales back
Police announced Sept. 26 the ongoing search for Laundrie would be “scaled back and targeted.” Laundrie’s family attorney also released a statement that said his parents did not know where he was and were concerned.
Sept. 29: FBI obtains Laundrie’s phone, surveillance video
The Laundrie family’s attorney confirmed on Sept. 29 that the FBI was in possession of the new phone Laundrie had purchased on Sept. 4. Bertolino said Laundrie left the phone home the day he left for a hike in the Carlton Reserve – the last time his family has said they saw him.
The Pinellas County Sheriff’s Office also confirmed Sept. 29 it had turned over surveillance video from Fort De Soto campground from the time when the Laundrie family visited. The video was given to the FBI.
Sept. 30: Agents check camper
Two agents with the FBI visited the Laundrie family’s North Port home on Sept. 30. The agents spent time in the house, and briefly went into the family’s camper in the driveway, before leaving with a bag. The family’s attorney told WFLA the visit was to “collect some personal items belonging to Brian that will assist the canines in their search for Brian.”
Oct. 6: Laundrie search ramps up at Carlton Reserve
Activity ramped back up at the Carlton Reserve on Oct. 6 after several days of a more scaled-back search for Brian Laundrie. Several unmarked law enforcement vehicles were seen at the nature reserve, and a large drone was spotted flying above.
According to family attorney Steve Bertolino, Brian’s dad Chris Laundrie was supposed to join the search at the reserve but the involvement had to be postponed.
Oct. 7: Brian Laundrie’s dad joins search
Chris Laundrie joined the search for his son on Oct. 7. The father left his North Port home that morning and headed to the Carlton Reserve to assist law enforcement, according to the family’s attorney.
“Chris was asked to point out any favorite trails or spots that Brian may have used in the preserve,” he said. “Although Chris and Roberta Laundrie provided this information verbally three weeks ago, it is now thought that on-site assistance may be better.”
Oct. 20: Remains found
Partial human remains were found in the Carlton Reserve, where crews had been searching for Laundrie, on Oct. 20, according to the FBI. The Sarasota County Medical Examiner’s Office had been called to the adjacent Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park earlier in the day.
The Laundrie family’s attorney said both Chris and Roberta Laundrie met with law enforcement officials at the park that morning to search for their son. Some “articles belonging to Brian,” later identified by FBI agents as a backpack and a notebook belonging to the 23-year-old, were found after a brief search, the attorney added.
Oct. 21: Remains Identified as Laundrie
The FBI Denver office issued a news release Thursday identifying the remains found in the Carlton Reserve as Laundrie’s. Investigators used dental records to confirm that it was him, according to the FBI.
The swampy, rugged area where he was found is located near Laundrie’s home. Bobcats, alligators, coyotes, snakes and other animals live in the wooded preserve, which was the focus of a manhunt involving numerous branches of local, state and federal law enforcement.
Petito’s death and the search for Laundrie captivated audiences across the globe, inspiring the creation of social media communities dedicated to solving the case in the process.