Tragedy unfolding: Body confirmed as missing woman Gabby Petito
US police have found a body believed to be missing woman Gabby Petito.
The body was found in the Grand Teton National Park in the US state of Wyoming, where police have been looking for the missing 22-year-old.
Though the body has not been formally identified yet, FBI Denver spokesman Charles Jones told reporters that the remains matched a description of Ms Petito.
“Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100 percent that we found Gabby, but her family has been notified of this discovery,” Mr Jones said.
The cause of death is yet to be determined.
Image: gabspetito / Instagram
“First and foremost, on behalf of the FBI personnel and our partners, I would like to extend sincere, sincere, and heartfelt condolences to Gabby’s family,” Mr Jones said.
“As every parent can imagine, this is an incredibly difficult time for the family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. We ask that you all respect the privacy as they mourn the loss of their daughter.”
Shortly after the press conference, North Port Police confirmed the body belonged to Ms Petito.
“Saddened and heartbroken to learn that Gabby has been found deceased,” the tweet read.
“Our focus from the start, along with the FBI, and national partners, has been to bring her home. We will continue to work with the FBI in the search for more answers.”
Saddened and heartbroken to learn that Gabby has been found deceased. Our focus from the start, along with the FBI, and national partners, has been to bring her home. We will continue to work with the FBI in the search for more answers.
— North Port Police (@NorthPortPolice) September 19, 2021
Ms Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, shared an image of his daughter standing in front of a painted pair of wings.
“💔 #GABBYPETITO she touched the world,” he captioned the post.
Ms Petito went missing in August while on a cross-country trip with her fiancé, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie.
— joseph petito (@josephpetito) September 19, 2021
Her last known contact with family members occurred on August 25 from the Wyoming national park, and she was reported missing on September 11.
Ms Petito’s Instagram page, where she shared updates on her travels with Mr Laundrie in their van, was last active on August 26.
Mr Laundrie returned home in Ms Petito’s van on September 1 without her, and has refused to help police with the search.View this post on Instagram
Over the weekend, police were searching for Mr Laundrie, after his family later said he was also missing.
Mr Laundrie’s family told investigators they last saw him on Tuesday, September 14, when they believed he travelled to a wildlife reserve.
More than 50 law enforcement officers ended their second day of searching for Mr Laundrie in a wildlife area near Florida’s Gulf Coast, after identifying him as a person of interest in her disappearance.
“It is important to note that while Brian is a person of interest in Gabby’s disappearance, he is not wanted for a crime,” North Port police said in a statement, adding that the investigation is now a “multiple missing person” case.
Ms Petito’s van was reportedly seen by travel bloggers Jenn and Kyle Bethune on August 27, captured in footage they posted to their YouTube channel.
After driving past the van twice, the Bethunes said the van seemed “abandoned”.
Authorities have been poring over tips, including the footage from the Bethunes, and searching large areas of Wyoming and Utah.
FBI agents in Denver tweeted that they are currently focusing on areas in the Grand Teton National Park, including an undeveloped camping ground near Spring Creek.
They have urged anyone who was in the area between August 27 and 30 who had seen Ms Petito, Mr Laundrie, or their vehicle, to contact them.
Image: gabspetito / Instagram