Locals chime in on identifying found remains

The human remains found in a marshy Florida reserve during the FBI search for fugitive Brian Laundrie may prove to be a challenge for coroners trying to ID them.

“I walk there all the time and there won’t be much of the remains left,” John Widmann, who lives about a mile from the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve, where the remains were found early Wednesday, told The Post.

“There’s alligators, but the worst thing are the wild pigs,” Widmann said. “They’re evil animals and will eat anything. Any flesh out in the open will not be wasted.”

“There won’t be much for the coroner to work on,” he added. “Nature doesn’t waste anything.”

NewsNationNow correspondent Brian Entin reported Thursday that sources revealed that the remains were “skeletal.”

The FBI said the unidentified human remains, along with a backpack and notebook belonging to Laundrie, were found near a bridge linking the Carlton Reserve with the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, where Laundrie allegedly went hiking on Sept. 13.

Locals are apprehensive that the corner will be able to get any accurate readings on who the remains might be as several factors could have disrupted the crime scene.

The FBI launched a search of the area on Sept. 18, seeking to question the 23-year-old over the disappearance and death of his girlfriend, Long Island native Gabby Petito.

Laundrie is the sole person of interest in Petito’s death.

The 22-year-old Blue Point native was found at a Wyoming campground on Sept. 19, with her death later ruled a homicide by manual strangulation.

Authorities have not positively identified the remains found at the Florida reserve, but police have described conditions for search crews as “treacherous.”

“Today when I walked back there I got to see first-hand the treacherous conditions that they were working under,” Lee County Sheriff Carmine Marceno said at the scene Thursday. “Rattlesnakes, moccasins, alligators.”

Another local, Jayne Kornburger, said she worried that the scene may have been disturbed by hikers — Myakkahatchee had reopened to the public on Tuesday, one day before the FBI reported making the grisly discovery.

“There were scores of local people here yesterday because it was the first day the park opened since the first search,” she said. “What if those people had innocently disturbed evidence? How did police miss evidence during the first search?”

According to Jayne Kornburger, Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park had reopened to the public one day before the FBI found the remains.
Jayne Kornburger wonders if Myakkahatchee’s reopening to the public — one day before the FBI found the remains — could have disturbed evidence.
NGRE / BACKGRID

Kornburger, who knew Petito from her job at a local Publix supermarket, said the community is still reeling from her death, recalling her as “a lively kid.”

“I’ve cried many tears about what happened to her, believe me,” said Kornburger, who had Gabby’s now-trademark “Let It Be” mantra tattooed on her arm.

“The Laundrie family has been appalling in their behavior,” she said. “They should have been telling everything they knew to detectives from the first second and they should have been out every day searching for their son.”

Other residents of the area have said that the alligators in the area might have eaten critical evidence or body parts that would help the FBI identify the remains.
Local residents have said the alligators in the area might have eaten critical evidence or body parts that would help the FBI identify the remains.
John Roca

“Local people are appalled by how they behaved,” she added.