Gabby Petito: Body Found Confirmed To Be That Of Missing YouTuber
A post-mortem examination has confirmed a body found in Teton County, Wyoming, is that of 22-year-old Gabby Petito.
The remains were discovered in a remote area of Bridger-Teton National Forest on Sunday, September 19, after authorities began to search for Petito, who was last seen in Salt Lake City, Utah, on August 24.
An FBI spokesperson said after the discovery the body was ‘consistent’ with a description of Petito, who was 5ft5 and weighed 110 pounds.
The Petito family attorney Richard Stafford shared the confirmation with Business Insider, along with a statement:
I want to personally thank the press and news media for giving the Petito and Schmidt family time to grieve. We will be making a statement when Gabby is home.
FBI Denver’s office also released a statement, confirming that the manner of death was homicide, although the cause was not yet clear:
Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue confirmed the remains are those of Gabrielle Venora Petito, date of birth March 19, 1999. Coroner Blue’s initial determination for the manner of death is homicide. The cause of death remains pending final autopsy results.
Charles Jones, FBI Denver’s supervisory senior resident agent in Wyoming, initially said authorities could not confirm the body belonged to Petito without ‘full forensic identification’, but assured the YouTuber’s family were notified about the discovery. The autopsy, conducted in North Port, Florida, has since confirmed Petito’s identity.
Petito left her home state of New York with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, in late June or early July with plans to visit America’s national parks.
Images shared on her Instagram show her taking in the scenery in numerous different locations, however on September 1 Laundrie returned home to North Port alone and refused to speak to investigators about Petito’s whereabouts. The white van the couple had been travelling in was found at the home Petito shared with Laundrie and his parents.
Laundrie has been named a person of interest in the case, however he too went missing after telling his family he was planning to hike alone in the 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve wilderness area, near North Port. Police subsequently searched the area, but withdrew on Monday, September 20, after ‘exhausting all avenues’.
As well as searching for Laundrie himself, investigators have searched the 23-year-old’s home, loading cardboard boxes into a van and towing away a silver Ford Mustang, Sky News reports.
Steven Bertolino, an attorney for Laundrie’s family, said the fiancé’s whereabouts were ‘unknown’ on Friday, though the Petito family’s attorney, Richard Stafford, told CNN: ‘All of Gabby’s family want the world to know that Brian is not missing, he is hiding.’
In a news release regarding Petito’s disappearance, the FBI asked the public to ‘maintain distance from any law enforcement personnel, equipment, vehicles, and their related activity for the safety of the public in these remote areas, to respect the privacy of Gabby’s family, and to protect the integrity of our work.’
Jones said authorities are seeking ‘information from anyone who utilised the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area between the dates of August 27th and August 30th’, and noted the public’s response to the request for tips has been ‘remarkable’.
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677
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