Locals living near the Florida reserve where the remains of Brian Laundrie were found have said it is full of alligators and “evil” wild pigs which wouldn’t have left any flesh for investigators to identify.
Several locals have told media outlets that the 25,000-acre Carlton reserve is full of hungry wetland creatures which would have eaten any flesh found there.
“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 reserve, told the New York Post.
“There’s alligators, but the worst thing are the wild pigs,” Mr 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.”
Another local also expressed concerns for the evidence being disturbed by hikers frequenting the reserve when it reopened.
“There were scores of local people here yesterday because it was the first day the park opened since the first search,” Jayne Kornburger said. “What if those people had innocently disturbed evidence? How did police miss evidence during the first search?”
The police also described the conditions of the park 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 told reporters on Thursday. “Rattlesnakes, moccasins, alligators,” he added.
Police had earlier confirmed that the human remains they found at the reserve were “skeletal”. Law enforcement agencies said the remains and several other items they found were submerged and were only discovered after the water had receded.
The items, including a backpack and a notebook, were discovered near a bridge linking the Carlton Reserve with the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park.
Law enforcement agencies, including the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), have been searching for Laundrie for over a month, as he was a person of interest in the death of video blogger Gabby Petito, his fiancee.
The FBI confirmed on Thursday that the remains found were those of Laundrie’s. However, it isn’t clear whether the items revealed any more information to help the investigators in Petito’s case.
Laundrie allegedly went hiking at the Florida reserve days after he had returned from a trip without Petito. He then disappeared himself, leading to law enforcement agencies launching a manhunt for him.
Laundrie was the sole person of interest in the case. His parents’ lawyer had said they had told officials early on to look for him at the reserve.