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Body believed to be Gabby Petito found in Wyoming; cause of death undetermined

Investigators continue search for fiancé of Gabby Petito in Florida, community creates memorial
Investigators continue search for fiancé of Gabby Petito in Florida, community creates memorial

MOOSE, Wyo. – A body believed to be that of 22-year-old Gabby Petito was found Sunday in a national forest in Teton County, Wyoming, according to the FBI.

The FBI said human remains were found in the Spread Creek dispersed camping area inside Grand Teton National Park and were consistent with the description of Petito.

Though a full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm the identity, Petito’s family has been notified of the discovery, the FBI said. The cause of death has not been determined.

“The facility around Spread Creek campsite will remain closed to the public until further notice. This is an active and ongoing investigation,” an FBI spokesperson said.

MORE | Florida man who traveled country in van with fiancée now ‘person of interest’ in her disappearance

Meanwhile in Florida, more than 50 law enforcement officers on Sunday started a second day of searching in a vast wildlife area near the Gulf Coast for a 23-year-old man that authorities consider a person of interest in the disappearance of Petito who was his girlfriend that went missing while on a cross-country trek.

The search for Brian Laundrie resumed at the more than 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County, Florida, a wildlife area with more than 100 miles of trails, as well as campgrounds. North Port Police said around 6 p.m. on Sunday the search of the Carlton had concluded for the evening and it had nothing to report.

Laundrie and Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito left in July on a cross-country trek in a converted van to visit national parks in the U.S. West. Police said Laundrie was alone when he drove the van back to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida, on Sept. 1. Petito’s family filed a missing persons report Sept. 11 with police in Suffolk County, New York.

Laundrie has been identified as a person of interest in the case.

“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. It added that the investigation is now a “multiple missing person” case.

Laundrie’s family members told investigators that the last time they saw him was on Tuesday when they believe he went to the wildlife reserve in the Sarasota area.

Petito’s family had been pleading for the Laundrie family to tell them where their son last saw her. Petito and Laundrie were childhood sweethearts who met while growing up on Long Island, New York. His parents later moved to North Port, about 35 miles south of Sarasota.

The couple’s trek in the Fort Transit van began in July from Long Island. They intended to reach Oregon by the end of October according to their social media accounts, but Petito vanished after her last known contact with family in late August from Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, authorities said.

The FBI in Denver said Saturday that agents began conducting ground surveys at Grand Teton National Park, with help from the National Park Service and local law enforcement agencies, seeking clues to Petito’s disappearance.

FBI agents tweeted that they were focusing on an undeveloped camping area near Spread Creek on the east boundary of the park. They urged anybody who had been there between Aug. 27 and 30, and had seen Petito, Laundrie or their vehicle, to contact them.

About the Author:

Digital reporter who has lived in Jacksonville for more than 25 years and focuses on important local issues like education and the environment.