Gabby Petito remains missing as authorities search vast wildlife reserve for fiancé
The family of Brian Laundrie, Petito's 23-year-old fiancé, told officers Friday that they haven’t seen him since Tuesday.Police named Laundrie a person of interest in Petito's disappearance, but he has refused to speak with police. No charges have been filed, and the case continues to be a missing persons case, police said.
Authorities in at least two states were working Monday to solve the mystery of Gabby Petito, hours after the FBI announced that remains found in Wyoming's Bridger-Teton National Forest are likely those of the 22-year-old blogger.
Petito and boyfriend Brian Laundrie, 23, had been high school sweethearts on Long Island, New York. Laundrie's parents later moved to North Port, Florida, and Petito and Laundrie were living with them when they began their cross-country expedition.
The couple left Long Island in July, planning to tour national parks and arrive in Oregon late next month. But Laundrie returned home alone with the van Sept. 1. Petito's family filed a missing persons report on Sept. 11 after not hearing from their daughter since late August.
Search for Gabby Petito boyfriend continues after body found
MOOSE, Wyo. (AP) — Authorities said a body discovered in northern Wyoming was believed to be that of a 22-year-old woman who disappeared while on a cross-country trek with a boyfriend now the subject of an intense search in a Florida nature preserve. The FBI said the body of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito was found Sunday by law enforcement agents who spent the weekend searching camp sites on the eastern border of Grand Teton National Park. The causeThe FBI said the body of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito was found Sunday by law enforcement agents who spent the weekend searching camp sites on the eastern border of Grand Teton National Park.
© Provided by USA TODAY FBI discovered human remains of a body they believe to be Gabby Petito, the missing 22-year-old who was traveling cross-country with her fiancé.
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Police have described Laundrie as a person of interest in the case. Laundrie and his family members repeatedly declined to discuss Petito's disappearance with law enforcement – until Friday, when his family said Laundrie himself was missing.
Gabby Petito timeline: From road trip with Brian Laundrie to missing persons investigation
Where is Brian Laundrie?
Laundrie's family said they last saw him Tuesday, when he packed up a car and told them he was going hiking. Family members found his car the next day near the Carlton Reserve, a nearby 25,000-acre, Sarasota County recreation area. A note on the car from the North Port Police Department said it needed to be removed, Steven Bertolino, Laundrie's family attorney, said in a statement seen by ABC7. The family removed the car the next day, he said.
Gabby Petito Timeline: What We Know So Far
The 22-year-old vlogger went missing following a cross-country trip with boyfriend Brian Laundrie, who later returned home alone.Laundrie returned home from the trip alone at the start of September and was last seen around mid-September.
Dozens of law enforcement officers have been searching the vast stretches of hiking trails and brush for any sign of Laundrie. Drones, scent-sniffing dogs and all-terrain vehicles aided the search. Investigators took some of his clothing from his parents’ home to provide a scent for the search dogs.
Authorities were returning to the reserve Monday to continue the search.
Body found: Gabby Petito's body believed to have been found near Grand Teton National Park
Remains of Gabby believed to be found
The FBI said law enforcement combing through a camping area on the eastern border of Grand Teton National Park found human remains that appear to be those of Petito. Authorities will conduct a forensic review to verify the remains, according to Charles Jones, a special agent with the FBI's Denver office. He declined to provide specifics on where the body was found or what clues led to the discovery. A cause of death was not immediately clear, he said.
Day 4 of search in Florida park for Gabby Petito's boyfriend
ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) — Search teams fanned out Wednesday at a Florida wilderness park to search for the boyfriend of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, who authorities say was killed while on a cross-country trip with him. The search resumed around 8 a.m. Wednesday at the 24,000-acre (9,700-hectare) Carlton Reserve park, North Port police spokesperson Joshua Taylor said. Investigators say Brian Laundrie's parents told them he had gone there after returning home without Petito on Sept. 1.
"I would like to extend sincere and heartfelt condolences to Gabby's family," Jones said. "As every parent can imagine, this is an incredibly difficult time."
Social media sleuths seek clues: What happened to Gabby Petito? Mystery prompts online searches
Petito's family heartbroken, grateful for law enforcement efforts
Petito’s father, Joseph, posted on social media an image of a broken heart above a picture of his daughter with a message that said, “she touched the world.” An attorney and spokesman for Petito’s family asked in a statement that the family be given room to grieve. Attorney Richard Benson Stafford indicated that the family would make a public statement at a later date, and he thanked officials with the FBI, Grand Teton Search and Rescue and other agencies that participated in the search for Petito.
“The family and I will be forever grateful,” Stafford said in a statement.
The investigation tracks Petito's whereabouts
Jones said investigators were still seeking information from anyone who may have seen Petito or Laundrie around the Spread Creek camping area in Wyoming, where law enforcement search efforts focused over the weekend. According to Petito's family, they were last in contact with her during the last week of August. A verified GoFundMe page set up to raise funds says Petito was "last known to be in Grand Teton, Wyoming on 8/25/21 heading toward Yellowstone National Park."
Arrest Warrant for Brian Laundrie Issued in Wyoming Following Gabby Petito's Death
Brian Laundrie, considered a person of interest in Gabby Petito's disappearance, has not been seen since he was reported missing last FridayLaundrie, who has been considered a person of interest in the disappearance of his fiancée, Gabby Petito, was indicted by a federal grand jury for "use of unauthorized access devices" following Petito's death.
“The last text I got from her was on Aug. 30," Petito's mother, Nichole Schmidt, told WFLA-TV. "I don’t know if that was her texting me or not.”
Couple takes cross-country excursion
The couple were traveling in a white 2012 Ford Transit van with a Florida license plate. The van had been converted so the two could live and travel comfortably, social media posts from Petito said. The only video posted on the couple's joint YouTube page was "Nomadic Statik," which was created and posted Aug. 19.
The eight-minute video titled “Van Life: Beginning our Van Life Journey” features happy and romantic scenes from the couple’s trip.
Video offers details on clash in Utah
But issues had arisen before Aug. 19, and authorities have released information showing the couple got into a dispute in Utah a week earlier. A video released by the Moab Police Department shows an officer pulled over the van on Aug. 12 after it was seen speeding and hit a curb near the entrance to Arches National Park. The body camera video shows Petito visibly upset when an officer approached them.
“We’ve just been fighting this morning. Some personal issues,” she tells him, adding that she suffers from an obsessive-compulsive disorder that affects her behavior.
Laundrie told an officer that Petito slapped him after friction had been building between them for several days. The officer wrote in a report that the two had been traveling together for several months, and the closeness created an "emotional strain" leading to more arguments. Officers in the video told the couple to sleep in separate places for the night.
"I do not believe the situation escalated to the level of a domestic assault as much as that of a mental health crisis," the officer concluded in the report.
Contributing: Grace Pateras, Sarasota Herald-Tribune; The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Remains of Gabby Petito believed to be found; search underway for boyfriend Brian Laundrie: What we know
Brian Laundrie search: Timeline of events since he returned to Florida becomes clearer .
Reports that Brian Laundrie camped with his family this month before Gabby Petito was reported missing appear to clarify a timeline of his movements after he returned to Florida without his fiancée, who eventually was found dead in Wyoming. © From gabspetito/Instagram Brian Laundrie is pictured in a post on Gabby Petito's Instagram account on February 14, 2021. The Laundrie family stayed at a Florida campground dozens of miles from their North Port home between September 6 and 8, officials said, days before Petito's family reported her missing after the couple were on a cross-country van trip.