THURSDAY, October 21
The search for Brian Laundrie, who has been the sole person of interest since his girlfriend Gabby Petito was strangled to death last month, may have come to an end, after human remains were discovered in the place he vanished.
Law enforcement announced earlier today they had found what appeared to be partial human remains in an area of Carlton Reserve that was underwater, near some belongings believed to belong to Mr Laundrie.
The remains were found in a spot near where Mr Laundrie left to go hiking on September 14.
FBI Tampa special agent in charge Michael McPherson made a brief statement to reporters this morning, 4.30pm local time, just five hours after law enforcement made the discovery.
“Earlier today, investigators found what we believe to be human remains, a backpack and a notebook belonging to Brian Laundrie,” Mr McPherson said.
An agent holding the bag found.
A number of evidence response teams are on the scene, with Mr McPherson saying they would use “all forensic resources” to gather what they could.
The area where the remains and items were found had been flooded recently, with the receding waters revealing the clues and items.
“It’s likely the (forensic) team will be on scene for several days,” Mr McPherson said.
“We don’t have all the answers yet .. but we’re working diligently to get those answers for you.”
The reserve will stay closed to the public until further notice.
Protesters at the press conference chanted “justice for Gabby” as the police and FBI walked back to the scene.
Mr Laundrie’s parents Chris and Roberta reportedly directed FBI agents and police to the location where “some articles belonging to their son were found,” according to a statement by Laundrie lawyer Steven Bertolino.
“Chris and Roberta Laundrie went to the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park this morning to search for Brian,” Mr Bertolino said.
“The FBI and NPPD were informed last night of Brian’s parents’ intentions and they met Chris and Roberta there this morning after a brief search off a trail that Brian frequented some articles belonging to Brian were found.
“As of now law enforcement is conducting a more thorough investigation of that area.”
Queensland’s largest COVID-19 vaccination blitz to date is set to take place this weekend as the state government tries to boost lagging vaccination rates.
The government plans to transform 100 high schools into mass vaccination clinics for the “Super Saturday” blitz.
There are just 10 days left for people to get their first dose in order to be fully protected by the time the state drastically eases its border restrictions on December 17.
Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said the plan to open schools as vaccination clinics was targeting areas with lower vaccination uptake across Cairns, Townsville, Wide Bay, Central Queensland, the Gold Coast, the Sunshine Coast, Metro South and Metro North.
“Super Saturday is our largest vaccine push to date,” Ms Palaszczuk said.
“If you’ve been saying you’ll just wait a bit before getting the vaccine, it’s time for you to come forward and get vaccinated now.”
The state is expected to hit 80 per cent of Queenslanders aged 16-plus being fully vaccinated on December 17.
According to the roadmap, when that level of vaccination is hit, domestic travellers from COVID hotspots with two doses of a vaccine and a negative COVID test within 72 hours prior to arrival being be allowed in, without needing to quarantine.
About 73.2 per cent of eligible Queenslanders have received their first dose and 58.1 per cent are fully vaccinated, the second lowest rate in the nation.
*New South Wales Health has recorded 372 new cases of COVID-19 and one COVID-related death..
There are currently 523 COVID-19 patients in NSW hospitals, with 124 of those requiring intensive care.
In NSW, 92.5 per cent of people over 16 have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 82.3 per cent have had two doses.
A total of 86,235 COVID-19 tests were carried out in the 24 hours to 8pm last night.
Premier Dominic Perrottet was asked about reports that five NSW public schools were closed overnight due to COVID cases.
“Schools from time to time will be closed, we have never shied away from that being a challenge,” he said.
Mr Perrottet said the NSW education department had done an “incredible” job preparing for the return to school.
“We want our kids back in the classrooms, it’s incredibly important for them, it’s important for parents across the state.”
*Victoria has recorded 2,232 new local cases of COVID-19 and 12 deaths as the state hits its 70 per cent vaccination target.
There are now 22,889 active cases of the virus in Victoria, and 187 people have died during the current Delta outbreak.
The new cases were identified from 79,544 test results received yesterday.
There were 37,824 doses of vaccine administered at state-run sites, and more vaccinations at GP clinics and other venues.
Victoria has passed the 70 per cent full-vaccination milestone that will officially trigger the end of the state’s COVID-19 lockdown at 11:59pm tonight.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison revealed this morning that both Victoria and Tasmania now had 70 per cent of their 16+ population fully vaccinated.
“I officially confirm, just got the figures, Victoria has reached 70.51 per cent double-dose vaccination rate right across the state. And good on Tasmania as well, because they have hit 70.6 per cent,” he told Channel Seven.
Under Victoria’s new rules, fully vaccinated people will be allowed much greater freedoms. But people who are not double-dosed will be barred from most hospitality venues and events.
COVID-19 response commander Jeroen Weimar has confirmed the double-dose rule also applies to staff at those venues.
He said Melbourne’s citywide curfew would be in place from 9:00pm on Thursday until restrictions lifted at 11:59pm, the “witching hour” when people would be able to enjoy their new freedoms.
Staff at hospitality venues will still be allowed to go into work after the curfew kicks in at 9:00pm to get their venues ready, but patrons will need to wait until 11:59pm to leave home to get into venues.
After 17 years hosting RN’s Breakfast program, Fran Kelly is stepping away from the microphone.
An emotional Kelly made the announcement on air this morning and thanked listeners for their support.
“I’ve got some breaking news, I just want to let you all know my days presenting RN Breakfast are coming to an end. After 17 years it’s time,” she said.
“I want to thank you for your support you’ve given me.
“I can’t believe I have actually got these words out, in fact I’ve been dreading saying it out loud and making it real, RN Breakfast such a huge part of my life I will miss it and I will miss you.
“It’s been a privilege and an absolute joy.”
Kelly said leaving the program was an agonisingly difficult decision to make.
“It’s probably the hardest decision I’ve ever had to make in my life,” she said.
“I absolutely love the job, I’ve never not loved it, and I give it up reluctantly.
“But breakfast radio is very demanding, it’s a hard taskmaster, getting up around 3.30am for 17 years, and I never want to be in a position where I can’t give it everything, because every day it takes pretty much everything, so I felt like my body and my brain this year was saying it’s time.”
Fran Kelly will finish up on December 2 and her replacement will be announced in coming months.
Grant Denyer has hit out at New Idea for splashing its front page with images of him and his Dancing With The Stars partner, 22-year-old Lily Cornish, claiming he’s been “caught out” by his wife of ten years Chezzi Denyer, reports news.com.
The story has since been removed by the publication online, but the couple posted details of the article to their Instagram Stories, which included captions such as “shock new pics” and “Chezzi’s heartbreak”.
In the images, Denyer, 44, is seen with his hand on the 22-year-old dancer’s thigh, and smiling with her as they walk down the street.
“What the actual hell is this front page crap New Idea,” Chezzi wrote with the laughing emoji, launching into a rant against the magazine.
On the next slide, she revealed the photographer who took the photos had actually apologised to the couple for the images being “taken out of context”.
“Right before this little ‘she’ll be right’ leg pat … I was on the phone with them also consoling Lilz,” Chezzi wrote, explaining that Cornish is a close friend of the couple’s.
“Lilz is like our adopted daughter. We grew extremely close during her month long stay with us here in Bathurst. We absolutely adore her!”
She went on to describe the photo as “gross and really mean”.
“Poor Lilz doesn’t deserve this defamation of character … New Idea you should be ashamed.”
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