A body matching Gabrielle Petito’s description was discovered Sunday in an area of a Wyoming national park where searches were underway to locate the young American traveler, whose disappearance has moved the country, authorities said.
The American authorities had launched a vast search operation to find the young woman of 22 years, missing on September 11 during a traveling trip with her companion. Her parents last communicated with her when the couple were in the Grand Teton National Park area in Wyoming, the family said.
A body was discovered Sunday in the Wyoming search area, which matches the description of the missing young woman, the FBI said at a press conference. “Earlier today, human remains were discovered, matching Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Petito’s description“FBI Agent Charles Jones said in a press conference.
“Full forensic identification has not been done to 100% confirm that we have found Gabby, but her family has been made aware of the discovery.“, he said, adding that the cause of death had not been determined.
“I would like to express my sincere and deep condolences to Gabby’s family“, he added. “We ask you all to respect their privacy as they mourn the loss of their daughter“, he urged.
Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito quit her job and left in July to tour the country by van with her friend Brian Laundrie, 23, recounting their journey in idyllic Instagram posts. Over two weeks ago, Mr. Laundrie returned home alone to North Port, Florida with his friend’s van.
Mr. Laundrie was declared a person “of interest” by investigators and refused to cooperate with the police. The mystery grew a little deeper when Mr. Laundrie disappeared, too. His parents haven’t seen him since Tuesday, North Port police said on Friday.
“Lawyer for the Laundrie family called FBI investigators on Friday night saying the family wanted to talk about their son’s disappearance“, said the police in a statement.”It is important to note that while Brian is a person of interest in Gabby’s disappearance, he is not wanted for a felony.“.
After the FBI announcement, North Port Police said in a tweet that they were “heartbroken” by the news. “From the start, we have focused, along with the FBI and our domestic partners, on bringing (Ms. Petito) home. We will continue to work with the FBI to seek further answers“.
The couple began their journey in New York City on the east coast, posting photos of sublime views of the country and of themselves smiling alongside their white van. In a video posted on Youtube, the two lovers kiss at sunset and take a walk on the beach.
This idyllic picture was tarnished, however, by a report of domestic violence involving Ms. Petito and Mr. Laundrie, made to the Utah police in August. Images from an officer’s pedestrian camera, released by US media, show Ms. Petito in distress saying she had an altercation with her companion.
The policeman eventually ordered the two young people to spend the night apart in order to calm down. FBI agent Charles Jones said investigators continue to seek information from anyone who may have had contact with Petito or Laundrie.