Orange paint marks the swampy, desolate spot where Brian Laundrie’s remains were found
This is the desolate swampland scene in Florida where fugitive Brian Laundrie’s bones were discovered, Dailymail.com can reveal.
Circles of orange FBI marker paint on leaves reveal the likely spot his skeletal remains and backpack were found by law enforcement, around 50 yards from a trail Laundrie liked to hike.
On the other side of the trail, some 20 yards into the undergrowth, an orange and a lime green flag marker were still evident. These are possibly where Laundrie’s bag and a possibly crucial notebook were discovered.
Dailymail.com ventured into the intimidating swamp as it opened up to the public following a near six-week FBI-led search for Laundrie, the only person of interest in the murder of his van-life fiancé Gabby Petito, 22.
The death scene – which had been under flood water for weeks – is just 700 yards from the entrance to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, four miles from the Laundrie home in North Port.
This is the desolate swampland scene dotted with orange FBI marker paint in Florida where fugitive Brian Laundrie’s bones were discovered, Dailymail.com can reveal
Circles of orange FBI marker paint on leaves reveal the likely spot his skeletal remains and backpack were found by law enforcement, around 50 yards from a trail Laundrie liked to hike
The scene is just 700 yards from the entrance to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park and still has the orange and lime green marker flags placed by the FBI
Some 20 yards into the undergrowth, an orange marker was still evident. This is possibly where Laundrie’s bag and a possibly crucial notebook were discovered
A lime green flag was also discovered at the scene, where Laundrie’s remains and belongings were possibly found
Dailymail.com ventured into the swamp as it opened up to the public following a near six-week FBI-led search for Laundrie
Laundrie left his silver Ford Mustang convertible at the park entrance parking lot after leaving his parent’s house in an ‘emotional state’ on September 13. He would have walked over a cream-colored bridge linking the park to the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve.
We followed his route from Myakkahatchee into the snake and gator-ridden reserve. He would have turned right along a dusty track after the bridge, then left on to the ‘Live Long’ trail.
Dense vegetation borders both sides of the trail for the first few hundred yards. Laundrie, 23, would have followed it until coming close to a clearing, which contains large pools of water.
Just before the clearing, it appears Laundrie would have turned left and headed to a patch of ground where there is a break in the canopy of trees.
That is where we found the crime scene paint sprayed in circles – and is close to the location of the huge white law enforcement tent that could be seen from the air by news helicopters.
Laundrie’s bones were discovered on Wednesday when his parents Christopher, 62, and Roberta, 55, suddenly decided they wanted to venture into the reserve to look for their son themselves.
They left their home before 7am and were met at the Myakkhatchee park by two law enforcement officers who accompanied them inside. They had told police that missing Brian liked to hike a particular trail, that was now probably flood free.
Steve Bertolino, their lawyer, described what happened, saying: ‘As they went further in, Chris ventured off the trail into the woods.
‘He was zigzagging in different areas, law enforcement was doing the same thing. And Roberta Laundrie was walking down the trail.
‘At some point, Chris locates what’s called a dry bag. The dry bag is a white bag, laying in the woods, say 20 feet or so off the trail.’
Bertolino continued: ‘Law enforcement… looked at the contents of the bag. At that time, law enforcement officers showed him a picture on the phone of a backpack that law enforcement had located also nearby and also some distance off the trail.
‘At that point, the Laundries were notified there was also remains near the backpack, and they were asked to leave the preserve’.
The notebook ‘could be salvageable’ a source told CNN. They added: ‘It had clearly been wet and they are going to use any potential means to dry that out before opening it. They will be very careful with it.’
An autopsy by the medical examiner in Sarasota has failed to determine how Laundrie died and his bones were yesterday/FRI sent to an anthropologist for further examination, Bertolino told Dailymail.com.
The death scene is just four miles from the Laundrie home in North Port, Florida
The reserve was described as looking ‘like Jurassic Park’ by one search and rescue expert
There appeared to be no evidence in the park for weeks leading up to the remains being discovered on Wednesday and confirmed as belonging to Laundrie the next day
The sudden discovery inside the reserve – described as ‘like Jurassic Park’ by one search and rescue expert – came after a massive hunt for Laundrie began there on September 17.
More than 50 law enforcement officers, many in tactical gear and wielding rifles, had combed the treacherous swamp in huge all-terrain vehicles – while drones using infra-red technology covered areas they could not tackle due to flood water.
But for weeks is appeared there was absolutely no evidence of him being there.
It is not known how long Laundrie was in the reserve before he died. He fled there on September 13, two days after police arrived at the home he shared with his parents to speak with him over Gabby’s disappearance.
His parents refused to let police talk to their son – and North Port Police have told Dailymail.com that officers did not actually see Laundrie that night.
He had arrived back alone in North Port on September 1 from a road trip to Utah and Wyoming with Gabby in her white 2012 Ford Transit van. Tragic Gabby’s body was found on September 19 in lonely spot in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. She had been strangled.
Confirmation that Laundrie was dead was issued by the FBI on Thursday.
Minutes before the news broke, two North Port police officers arrived at the Laundrie home to tell his parents.
His father opened the door after the solemn officers knocked twice – and Dailymail.com photos show his stunned face as he confronted the reality of his son’s death.
The Laundrie family have remained in their home since the discovery of their son’s bones. Christopher has popped out of the house occasionally to pick up delivered food and flowers consoling them for their loss.
It is not known if the floral presentations that have arrived are from friends or just well-wishers.
One card read: ‘My deepest condolences on your loss of Brian. I hope this will bring you peace and the trust comes out on what happened to both Gabby and Brian. My heart goes out to you.’ The sender called themselves Savana bioty
Another card read: ‘Don’t forget people care! Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.’ The senders gave their names as Dirreck (correct) and Alicia.
At one point in the manhunt Brian’s father Chris Laundrie, 62, joined the FBI in their search but came back fruitless
More than 50 officers, many in tactical gear and wielding rifles, had combed the treacherous swamp in all-terrain vehicles
As officers searched the ground drones using infra-red technology covered areas they could not tackle due to flood water
It is not known how long Laundrie was in the reserve before he died. He fled there on September 13, two days after police arrived at the home he shared with his parents to speak with him over Gabby’s disappearance
Gabby’s heartbroken family have only recently been able to collect their murdered daughter’s remains. Mom Nichole Schmidt, stepdad Jim Schmidt, dad Joe Petito and stepmom Tara made the devastating trip to a funeral home in Jackson, Wyoming, last week.
It was only a few days after Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue announced Gabby had been manually strangled before being dumped close to a remote campsite in Grand Teton National Park.
The remote site where the blogger’s body was discovered has become a shrine to Petito, complete with a stone cross dotted with flowers.
Dr. Blue refused to provide additional details about the autopsy’s findings including: if her body was buried, whether any drugs were found in her system and whether she was killed in the same spot her body was found.
The three to four weeks her body was believed to be in the wilderness, however, put her death around the August 27-30 period investigators believe Petito and Laundrie had traveled to the area.
Only this week, Gabby’s mom had said she wanted ‘coward’ Laundrie to spend the rest of his life ‘in a cell’.
Nichole, who reported Gabby missing on September 11 after losing contact with her, said she thought her daughter would be safe with Laundrie on their trip.
But her view changed to that of branding him a cold-blooded killer who was being protected by his parents, who refused to talk to her.
‘Silence speaks volumes,’ she told 60 Minutes Australia. Of the parents, she said: ‘I believe they know most of the information. I would love to just face to face ask, “Why are you doing this? Just tell me the truth.”
‘He’s a coward. I don’t want to say he’s insane because he went home, he’s hiding, he used her credit card. That’s not somebody who’s gone crazy.
‘He knows what he is doing, he knew what he was doing. I just want to get him in a cell for the rest of his life.’
Her husband Jim added: ‘We want vengeance. And justice.’
Her mother added: ‘I hope she didn’t suffer and that she wasn’t in any pain.
‘That she was in a place she wanted to be, looking at the beautiful mountains. This was evil. She was taken at somebody else’s hand. It’s not fair.’