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FBI: Items linked to Laundrie, potential human remains found

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FBI: Items linked to Laundrie, potential human remains found

By CURT ANDERSON

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Potential human remains were found Wednesday in a Florida wilderness area along with items believed to belong to Brian Laundrie, whose girlfriend, Gabby Petito, was found slain after he returned home alone from their cross-country road trip, according to the FBI.

Michael McPherson, chief of the Tampa FBI office, said at a news conference that it will take time to identify the remains, which forensic teams were examining. McPherson said they were found near a backpack and a notebook linked to Laundrie.

“We are working diligently to get those answers for you,” McPherson said, adding that the items and remains were found in a swampy area — home to alligators, snakes, coyotes and other wildlife — that had previously been underwater. “It’s likely the team will be on site for several days.”

Laundrie’s parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, took part in the search Wednesday with the FBI and police from North Port, Florida, more than a month after Laundrie was reported missing after heading to the vast Carlton Reserve park.

“After a brief search off a trail that Brian frequented some articles belonging to Brian were found,” Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino said in a text to The Associated Press. “As of now law enforcement is conducting a more thorough investigation of that area.”

The Sarasota County Medical Examiner’s Office confirmed it had been summoned to the reserve but would not comment further.

Laundrie, 23, is a person of interest in the killing of Petito, who was reported missing Sept. 11 by her parents while the couple was on a cross-country trip out West.

The case generated enormous public interest but also raised uncomfortable questions over the unequal attention given to the hundreds of cases of Native American and other minority women missing or murdered across the United States. Petito is white.

Petito’s body was found Sept. 19 on the edge of Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, which the couple had visited. The coroner there concluded she died of strangulation and her body had been where it was found for three or four weeks.

The couple was stopped Aug. 12 by police in Moab, Utah, after they had a physical altercation, but no charges were filed.

Laundrie returned home alone Sept. 1 in the Ford van the couple took on their trip. He was reported missing after telling his parents on Sept. 14 that he was going for a hike in the Carlton Reserve, a nature preserve in Sarasota County that has for weeks been a key area in the search.

The activity Wednesday was focused on the nearby Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, where television news reports showed numerous law enforcement vehicles arriving and a tent set up inside the woods. The location is where a Ford Mustang that Laundrie drove to the wilderness was found.

Laundrie is charged in a federal Wyoming indictment with unauthorized use of a debit card, which would allow authorities to arrest him if he is found alive.

It alleges Laundrie used a Capital One Bank card and someone’s personal identification number to make unauthorized withdrawals or charges worth more than $1,000. It does not say to whom the card belonged or what type of charges were made.

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Associated Press writer Mike Balsamo in Washington contributed to this story.

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Avalanche was 7-1 in Nathan MacKinnon’s absence. “Excited to try and help keep this thing rolling,” he said pregame from Toronto.

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Avalanche was 7-1 in Nathan MacKinnon’s absence. “Excited to try and help keep this thing rolling,” he said pregame from Toronto.

TORONTO — After the morning skate at Scotiabank Arena on Wednesday, Avalanche coach Jared Bednar confirmed top-line center Nathan MacKinnon will return to the lineup against the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight to begin a five-game trip.

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Sheriff: Boy’s parents called to Oxford High before violence

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Oxford High School shooting: Fourth student dies

By COREY WILLIAMS and ED WHITE

OXFORD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A 15-year-old boy was charged Wednesday with murder, terrorism and other crimes for a shooting that killed four fellow students and injured others at a Michigan high school.

Oakland County prosecutor Karen McDonald did not reveal a possible motive for Tuesday’s violence at Oxford High School and declined to comment when pressed about whether she believed the victims were specifically targeted. But she said the shooting was premediated, based in part on a “mountain of digital evidence” collected by police.

Sheriff Mike Bouchard later told reporters that the boy’s parents had been summoned to the school before the violence. Bouchard wouldn’t discuss details of the behavior school officials were concerned about.

“There is nothing that he could have faced that would warrant senseless, absolutely brutal violence on other kids,” he said.

Ethan Crumbley is accused of firing a semi-automatic handgun in a school hallway, roughly 30 miles (50 kilometers) north of Detroit. At least seven other people were injured.

Crumbley was charged as an adult with murder, attempted murder and terrorism causing death. It wasn’t immediately known if he had an attorney who could comment.

“This was not just an impulsive act,” McDonald said.

The shooting should be a wakeup call for new gun laws in a country that has become “desensitized to school shootings,” McDonald told reporters.

“We have to do better,” McDonald said without offering specific changes. “How many times does this have to happen? How many times?”

The charges were announced a few hours after investigators reported that a fourth student had died.

“What about all the children who ran, screaming, hiding under desks? … Those are victims, too, and so are their families and so is the community. The charge of terrorism reflects that,” the prosecutor said.

Deputies rushed to the school around lunchtime Tuesday and arrested Crumbley in a hallway within minutes of the shooting. His father bought the 9 mm Sig Sauer gun last week, according to the Oakland County sheriff.

McDonald strongly suggested that more charges will be filed.

“We are considering charges against both parents and we will be making a decision swiftly,” she said.

“Owning a gun means securing it properly and locking it and keeping the ammunition separate,” she said.

The four students who were killed were identified as 16-year-old Tate Myre, 14-year-old Hana St. Juliana, 17-year-old Madisyn Baldwin and 17-year-old Justin Shilling.

After the attack, authorities learned of social media posts about threats of a shooting at the roughly 1,700-student school. The sheriff stressed how crucial it is for such tips to be sent to authorities, while also cautioning against spreading social media rumors before a full investigation.

Undersheriff Mike McCabe downplayed the significance of a situation in early November when a deer’s head was thrown off the school roof, which he said was “absolutely unrelated” to the shooting. The incident prompted school administrators to post two letters to parents on the school’s website, saying they were responding to rumors of a threat against the school but had found none.

Isabel Flores, a 15-year-old ninth grader, told Detroit television station WJBK that she and other students heard gunshots and saw another student bleeding from the face. They then ran from the area through the rear of the school, she said.

A concerned parent, Robin Redding, said her son, 12th-grader Treshan Bryant, stayed home Tuesday after hearing threats of a possible shooting.

“This couldn’t be just random,” she said.

Bryant said he had heard vague threats “for a long time now” about plans for a shooting.

At a vigil Tuesday night at LakePoint Community Church, Leeann Dersa choked back tears as she hugged friends and neighbors. Dersa has lived nearly all of her 73 years in Oxford. Her grandchildren attended the high school.

“Scared us all something terrible. It’s awful,” Dersa said of the shooting.

Pastor Jesse Holt said news of the shooting flooded in to him and his wife, including texts from some of the 20 to 25 students who are among the 400-member congregation.

“Some were very scared, hiding under their desks and texting us, ‘We’re safe, we’re OK. We heard gunshots, but we’re OK.’ They were trying to calm us, at least that’s how it felt,” he said.

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Associated Press journalists Ryan Kryska, Mike Householder and David Aguilar in Oxford Township, Michigan; Kathleen Foody in Chicago; and Josh Boak in Rosemount, Minnesota, contributed to this report. AP researcher Rhonda Shafner in New York also contributed.

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Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr. undergoes back surgery, team says

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Nuggets’ Michael Porter Jr. was playing with back pain this whole season, says Austin Rivers

Nuggets forward Michael Porter Jr. underwent lumbar spine surgery, the team announced Wednesday afternoon.

He is out indefinitely, the release said. The surgery was performed by Dr. Andrew Dossett at the Carrell Clinic.

Porter, 23, has had three back surgeries, including two since the Nuggets drafted him in 2018. Porter had been playing hurt all season before tweaking his back against Houston on Nov. 6. He was dealing with a nerve issue in his back, as The Denver Post first reported.

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