Human remains found in search for missing Petito boyfriend: FBI

Miami (AFP) – Apparent human remains were found on Wednesday in a Florida nature reserve where authorities have been searching for the missing boyfriend of the murdered road-tripper Gabby Petito, the FBI said.

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FBI special agent Michael McPherson said that personal items belonging to Brian Laundrie, who has been named a "person of interest" in Petito's murder, had also been found in the Carlton Reserve.

"Earlier today, investigators found what appears to be human remains along with personal items such as a backpack and notebook belonging to Brian Laundrie," McPherson told reporters.

"These items were found in an area that up until recently had been under water," the FBI agent said. "Our evidence response team is on scene using all available forensic resources to process the area.

"It's likely the team will be on scene for several days."

Police have been searching for Laundrie for weeks, and live television images on Wednesday showed search teams and sniffer dogs at work in Florida.

The body of Petito, 22, lay in the wilderness of Wyoming for up to a month before it was found in mid-September.

Petito had quit her job and packed her life into a camper van for a cross-country adventure with Laundrie, starting in July, documenting their journey in a stream of social media posts.

But her family filed a missing person report on September 11 after she mysteriously vanished, and Laundrie returned home to Florida without her.

Laundrie, 23, was declared a "person of interest" in the case. He declined to cooperate with police before disappearing himself.

Petito's death and the subsequent disappearance of the chief suspect sparked a blizzard of media coverage both in the United States and around the world.

It also triggered debate over the disproportionate attention accorded to missing white women.