NORTH PORT, Fla. — The FBI confirmed Wednesday that investigators found what appear to be human remains, "along with personal items, such as a backpack and notebook belonging to Brian Laundrie," just hours after Laundrie's parents searched the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park.
Steve Bertolino, the attorney representing the Laundrie family, confirmed to Fox News that the "probability is high" that the remains belong to Brian.
A forensic pathologist told Fox News that it will be difficult for officials to determine the cause of death of the human remains found in Carlton Reserve Wednesday.
"The most important thing will be what kind of animal activity there was during the past, perhaps, five weeks that he has been missing," Dr. Michael Baden said. "Remember, they have insects, rodents and alligators there, so that won't affect the identification, but will affect the cause of death and that is what the medical examiner in Sarasota will be working on for the next couple of days."
Bertolino released a statement after the remains were found Wednesday.
"Chris and Roberta Laundrie were at the reserve earlier today when human remains and some of Brian’s possessions were located in an area where they had initially advised law enforcement that Brian may be. Chris and Roberta will wait for the forensic identification of the human remains before making any additional comments."
Now, FBI forensics teams will test DNA to confirm the identity of the remains. Experts say that process could take anywhere from days to weeks.
Brian Laundrie was named a person of interest in the disappearance and subsequent homicide of his former girlfriend, Gabby Petito. The FBI later issued a warrant for his arrest on charges related to his unauthorized use of her bank card.
So, What does this mean for the murder investigation of Petito?
"That is going to be very difficult, without a suspect, to then make or identify the path that led to Gabby's death," Chris Burbank, Vice President of the Center for Policing Equity and former Salt Lake City Police Chief told FOX 13 News.
If the remains are confirmed to indeed belong to Laundrie, he said it complicates the investigation quite a bit.
"If there was probable cause-- so, enough evidence to demonstrate he was responsible for Gabby's death-- then absolutely they probably would have charged him and held him," Burbank explained. "And because there wasn't, there are some missing pieces to this investigation."