Since Gabby Petito – a Florida woman traveling with her boyfriend cross-county in a van – was reported missing on Sept. 11, the investigation has been filled with holes. But on Sunday, the FBI confirmed at a press conference at Grand Teton National Park that a body has been found on the east boundary of the park. The human remains found in Wyoming were “consistent with the description” of Petito.
“Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100% that we found Gabby,” in the words of FBI Supervisory Special Agent Charles Jones. “This is an incredibly difficult time for Petito’s family and friends.”
Jones also said that the cause of death has not been determined. Though an autopsy can be performed on human remains, the most effective are typically performed right after a person dies. It is possible to obtain a DNA sample from remains.
Soon after the discovery of the body, the attorney for Petito’s family issued a statement: “Due to today’s developments, we are asking the press and news media to have some decorum and sensitivity for Gabby’s family and allow them to grieve. I will be in contact with you when Gabby’s family is ready to make a public statement.”
Gabby Petito’s Boyfriend Still Not Cooperating
As police stepped up their search for Gabby Petito this weekend, a number of other developments occurred, as well. Her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, who has not cooperated with authorities, went missing. Petito’s family believes that Laundrie is hiding from the police.
Florida authorities have been conducting a massive search for Laundrie at the Carlton Reserve a 25,000-acre nature preserve that includes dry prairie, pine flatwoods, and seasonal wetlands.
The search was suspended for the day, Sunday, shortly before 6 p.m., with no sign of Laundrie.
The North Port Police Department has been criticized for failing to pursue this matter aggressively. NPPD spokesman Josh Taylor has pushed back. His department, he said, “has no authority to execute a possible federal search warrant on our own. I don’t see how anyone without all the facts in this case can come up with a reasonable conclusion and opinion on the matter.”
What Happened to Gabby Petito?
Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie left Blue Point, N.Y. on July 2 in a 2021 Ford Transit van. Although they documented the trip thoroughly on Instagram, tensions clearly developed over the course of the trip.
Aug. 9, the couple took photos at Delicate Arch, at Arches National Park, in Utah (although they were not uploaded until Aug. 12).
Bodycam footage of the incident shows officers seeking to keep them separated. “I want you guys to stay away from each other,” one officer told Petito.
On Aug, 29, a woman named Miranda Baker allegedly picked up the man she now recognizes as Brian Laundrie.
On Aug, 30, Petito’s family received a final text message from her phone. It is not clear if she wrote that text message or if someone else did.
On Sept. 1, Laundrie drove the van back to North Port, Florida, where they live — and where both of their families live, as well. Petito was not with him. Laundrie returned to the couple’s North Port home, on Sept. 1, according to police.
Petito’s family reported her as a missing person on Sept. 11.
More than a week later, many questions remain. Gabby Petito’s family hopes that Brian Laundrie will help answer some of those questions. But as of Sunday he could not be found.