A body found near a scenic North Carolina overlook over the weekend is not Florida fugitive Brian Laundrie, according to the FBI.
The discovery of the unidentified body on Saturday beneath the Yadkin Valley Overlook near the Blue Ridge Parkway led to wide speculation online that it was Laundrie, who is sought in the disappearance and death of Long Island native Gabby Petito.
The feds have now dismissed that rumor.
“At this time there is no evidence to connect or any reason to believe it is related to the search for fugitive Brian Laundrie,” the FBI told WSOC-TV in a statement Sunday.
The federal agency, along with the Watauga County Sheriff’s Office and the North Carolina State Bureau of Investigation, are probing the remains and have not released an ID.
The FBI has led a manhunt for Laundrie after the 23-year-old slipped away from his parent’s home in North Port, Fla., last month. He remains on the loose.
Laundrie is the sole person of interest in Petito’s death, whose body was found at a remote Wyoming campground on Sept. 19. Her death was ruled a homicide.
Laundrie returned home from the couple’s ill-fated cross-country trip without his 22-year-old girlfriend on Sept. 1, lawyered up, and refused to speak to authorities.
He has not been charged in her death but is wanted on federal charges out of Wyoming for fraud after using Petito’s bank card.
Police have searched a swampy 25,000-acre reserve near the Laundrie home for weeks, but tipsters have reported spotting Laundrie along the Appalachian Trail as far north as the North Carolina/Tennessee border.
Authorities have said that the sightings were investigated and were not substantiated.