NORTH PORT, Fla. — Police on Tuesday denied allegations that went viral on social media claiming that DNA from remains found last week in a Florida nature reserve did not match Brian Laundrie, the 23-year-old person of interest sought in the death of his fiancee, 22-year-old Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito.
“The identity of the remains found at the Carlton Reserve on October 20th was confirmed by comparison to known dental records of Brian Laundrie,” the medical examiner said in a statement shared by police. “No DNA analysis has yet been performed on the remains. Samples will be submitted for DNA testing once the examination of the remains by the medical examiner’s office is complete.”
The Daily Beast reported that a post claiming that Laundrie’s DNA didn’t match the remains found Oct. 20 garnered nearly 150,000 shares on Facebook, while a YouTube video making the claim had been viewed more than 110,000 times as of Tuesday.
“We have received a number of inquiries Tuesday about a false report of DNA not matching Brian Laundrie,” police said in a Twitter post.
Authorities with the FBI confirmed Laundrie’s remains were found Oct. 20 in an area that had previously been underwater in the Carlton Reserve and the adjacent Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in Sarasota County. Steven Bertolino, an attorney representing Laundrie’s family, last week told WFLA-TV that authorities sent the remains to an anthropologist to determine his cause and manner of death.
Citing FBI officials, CNN reported that officials recovered only skeletal remains.
Authorities had been searching for Laundrie since last month, when his parents reported him missing amid the search for Petito. Police said he was reported missing on Sept. 17, three days after his family said he left for a hike in the Carlton Reserve, though Bertolino told CNN last week that the family notified the FBI of his disappearance on the night he left.
Petito vanished in August during a cross-country road trip with Laundrie. Her remains were found last month in a remote part of Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest. A medical examiner later determined that she died of manual strangulation.
After the discovery, federal authorities in Wyoming issued a warrant for Laundrie’s arrest, accusing him of using Petito’s debit card “on or about Aug. 30″ through Sept. 1. He was not charged with any other crimes related to Petito’s death.
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