Robert Lowery, a father of two from Houston, Tx., had been missing since Aug. 20. On Tuesday, search teams in a forested area in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming found a body resembling Lowery. Many online instantly connected the discovery to Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito because Petito’s remains were located nearby. But Lowery’s sister Leigh told Breaking Daily News on Wednesday night that she does not believe that her brother’s death is related to the Brian Laundrie case.
“Nobody close to Bob or in the family believes that there is a relation to Brian Laundrie,” Leigh Lowery told Breaking Daily News exclusively.
“We are grateful that the media from Gabby’s case raised attention to others missing in the area and their recovery,” she told BDN. But “my brother’s death is not connected, except through the pain of loss. It is not feasible to connect the two timelines.”
Reports have attributed the new discovery to the widespread media attention surrounding Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie’s disappearances. What is believed to be Robert Lowery’s body was found about 17 miles from Petito’s remains, which were discovered on Sept. 19.
The cause of death in both instances remains a mystery. As of Thursday morning autopsies were still being conducted. The 46-year-old from Houston was last seen on Aug. 20, and his disappearance was being continuously investigated by the Teton County Sheriff’s Office until his body was discovered.
According to authorities, the sheriff’s office received tips over the weekend about where he may have last been seen, and based on those tips, search teams were able to identify a body matching his description near Black Canyon Trail.
In an official statement, the family explained that “the Teton County Sheriff’s Office informed our family on 9/28 that the Search and Rescue Team located a body that fits the description of Robert “Bob” Lowery near Black Canyon Trail. We await the Teton County, WY coroner’s report.”
The statement continued, with the family expressing gratitude to the Teton County Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Sachse and his department “for all their work during this month that Bob has been missing.” The family also said they “appreciate the search today (Tuesday) by Teton County Search and Rescue volunteer teams and the care and concern demonstrated by so many in the Jackson Hole news media and community.”
“We also thank you all for your support and prayers,” the family expressed in their statement. “Bob has been a wonderful father, son, brother, and friend. Our family wants to thank the news media and others involved in the search for our privacy at this difficult time.”
The Lowery family has started a GoFundMe for Robert Lowery’s children, 12-year-old Meredith and 15-year-old Luke. The page – operated by his sisters, Anne and Leigh Lowery – raised over $15,000 as of Thursday morning. The funds “will be dedicated to the support of his children’s education and future.”
Robert Lowery’s sister told Breaking Daily News that “Bob spoke to his children all the way up through the day he went missing.”
The GoFundMe page includes a statement about the loving father and his children. In it the Lowery family wrote that his “children will have the unconditional love and support [of] our full extended family; however, in the wake [of] their father’s unexpected death, we want to ensure that they are best set up for their future.”
“Regardless of monetary contribution, please know that we have felt the continued love, support & prayers from our community, family & friends throughout this tragedy,” the statement continued. “Thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.”