NORTH PORT, Fla. - Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis spoke with Gabby Petito's father, Joe Petito, on Wednesday afternoon to express his condolences for the loss of his daughter.
"He's a dad as well – the governor," Christina Pushaw, DeSantis's press secretary, told Fox News. "He has kids. He just empathizes and he wanted to reach out and express his support."
Just days after Brian Laundrie was reported missing by his parents last month, DeSantis said that state law enforcement would assist in the search.
"I have directed all state agencies under my purview to continue to assist federal & local law enforcement as they continue to search - we need justice for Gabby Petito," the governor tweeted last month.
The Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission's criminal division devoted more than 1,000 man-hours to the search, providing 16 officers, 16 trucks, 4 UTVs, 3 ATVs, a buggy, and an airboat to support local law enforcement, Pushaw said.
After DeSantis's call with Joe Petito, the FBI announced on Wednesday afternoon that human remains were found "along with personal items, such as a backpack and notebook belonging to Brian Laundrie."
"These items were found in an area that, up until recently, had been underwater. Our evidence response team is on scene using all available forensic resources to process the area," Michael McPherson, special agent in charge of the FBI's Tampa field office, said at a press conference outside of the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park.
Chris and Roberta Laundrie, Brian Laundrie's parents, were in the park when the human remains and Brian's belongings were discovered.
Since Brian's disappearance in mid-September, law enforcement has searched extensively in the Carlton Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, where Laundrie is said to have parked his car.
The U.S. District Court of Wyoming issued a federal arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie on Sept. 23 and McPherson declared Brian "a person of interest in the murder of Gabby Petito" on Wednesday.
Petito's remains were found near Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park on Sept. 19. A coroner later ruled her death a homicide by manual strangulation.
Fox News's Michael Ruiz and Stephanie Pagones contributed to this report.