NORTH PORT, Fla. - Following the FBI's confirmation Thursday that Brian Laundrie's remains were found in a nature reserve near his home, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' office said he is committed to helping victims of domestic violence.
"The governor is committed to doing whatever he can to help prevent domestic violence, support survivors and ensure justice for victims," Christina Pushaw, DeSantis's press secretary, told Fox News Thursday.
Human remains were found next to Brian Laundrie's belongings on Wednesday in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, and the FBI relied on dental records to confirm the remains were Laundrie’s on Thursday.
The 23-year-old disappeared from his North Port home Sept. 13, just two days after his fiancée, Gabby Petito, was reported missing.
Petito's remains were found on Sept. 19 near a Wyoming campsite the couple stopped at in late August on their cross-country road trip. A coroner later ruled that her death was a homicide by manual strangulation and noted it's "one of many deaths around the country of people who are involved in domestic violence."
Just a couple of weeks before Petito died, the couple got into a dispute in Moab, Utah. A witness told police that "the gentleman was slapping the girl," and Gabby told police Brian grabbed her face, but officers just separated them for the night without filing any charges.
Gabby's family started the Gabby Petito Foundation soon after her death to assist families of missing persons and victims of domestic violence.
Gov. DeSantis spoke with Gabby's father, Joe Petito, Wednesday and expressed support for the family and their efforts to help other victims.
"I was able to speak to Gabby Petito's father yesterday … just checking up to see how he's doing and see if there's anything we can do to help," Gov. DeSantis said at a rally in Florida Thursday. "He feels really strongly that there's more that can be done to protect people like Gabby, who were victims of domestic violence, and I agree with him."
The governor also said he wants to help with fundraising and anything else the Petitos need.
"I know he's working hard on stuff. I told them, you know, we raise money for different things," DeSantis said Thursday. "We raised money for fallen officers' families in Florida. We're going to probably do some other stuff with my wife eventually for breast cancer. But I told him, in our charitable endeavors, we want to be helpful. So I think we're going to be able to do it."
A spokesman for Petito's family, Richard Stafford, told Laura Ingle of Fox News Thursday that the family was still mourning the loss of their daughter.
"They are grieving the loss of their beautiful daughter," Stafford said. "Gabby’s family will make a statement at the appropriate time and when they are emotionally ready."
Gov. DeSantis acknowledged that losing a child is "probably the worst blow you can receive."
"He's a strong fella," DeSantis said of Joe Petito. "She was just starting out in life, had a great future ahead of her, obviously a very pretty young lady who everyone seemed to like. And so it's really, really sad, but it also … a lot of us, at least me, were angry that something like this would have happened, and we do want to get all the answers as soon as possible. And I know that would make him feel a lot better."