Gabby Petito Disappearance – Body Found
Searchers have found a body they believe is that of Gabby Petito, who was last heard from late last month while on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend.
The FBI’s senior resident agent in Wyoming, Charles Jones, offered “sincere and heartfelt condolences to Gabby’s family.”
#UPDATE: #FBIDenver, @NatlParkService & our law enforcement partners will provide an update in the investigation into Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito's disappearance at 4:00 PM MDT at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Grand Teton National Park. @GrandTetonNPS pic.twitter.com/hmTxBfxrYo
— FBI Denver (@FBIDenver) September 19, 2021
He said formal identification and determination of the cause of death would come later, but the body found matches the description of the 22-year-old Petito.
An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday.
Petito and her boyfriend, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, set off on their trip in July, traveling in a customized Ford Transit van. Petito kept in contact with her family for weeks and frequently posted to her Instagram account about the trip. But contact abruptly ended on August 25, and Laundrie was back at their North Point, Florida, home on September 1 — with the van but without Gabby.
Laundrie did not tell Gabby’s family he was back, however. They learned he had returned ten days later and promptly filed a missing person report for Gabby. Laundrie and his family refused to answer her family’s repeated calls to give them information about her location — or speak with police.
North Point police did not seek search warrants to gather information about the disappearance, saying they had no evidence of a crime. Then, nearly a week after Gabby was reported missing, Laundrie’s parents asked police to come to their home. But instead of talking about Gabby, the Laundries filed a missing person report for their son, who left the house three days earlier and hadn’t been heard from since.
While the FBI, park service investigators, sheriff’s deputies, and police officers launched an intensive search in the area of Grand Teton National Park, where Gabby was last known to have been, North Point police began to search a flooded, 25,000-acre nature reserve for Laundrie.
And tips poured in. A woman traveling through the park with her husband said she saw the van on August 25. A Utah business owner said the couple was in his store for 15 or 20 minutes on that day or the next.
Another couple traveling through the area posted a video of a van that closely resembled Petito and Laundrie’s van.
That video was shot on August 27, although the couple did not see anyone near the van. A TikTok user said she had briefly picked up a hitchhiking Brian Laundrie on August 29.
After discovering the body, the Jones said that the Spread Creek camping area would be “closed until further notice.” He also asked that the public “respect the privacy of Gabby’s family.”
“This is an incredibly difficult time for them,” he said, “and our thoughts are with them as they mourn the loss of their daughter.”
There was no immediate word from the Laundrie family, but North Point Police released a statement that said they were “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,” the statement said. “We will continue to work with the FBI in the search for more answers.”