Body found in search for missing US woman Gabby Petito

Source: Associated Press

United States authorities say a body discovered Monday in Wyoming is believed to be Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito.

The FBI said the body was found by law enforcement agents who had spent the past two days searching campgrounds.

The cause of death not yet been determined, said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Charles Jones.

Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, left in July on a cross-country trek in a converted van to visit national parks in the US West.

However, police said Laundrie was alone when he drove the van back to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida, on September 2.

Investigators are still seeking information from anyone who may have seen Petito or Laundrie around some camping sites located on the park’s eastern boundary, the same site that was the subject of a law enforcement search efforts over the weekend.

This police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van she was traveling in with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, near the entrance to Arches National Park on Aug. 12, 2021. The couple was pulled over while they were having an emotional fight. Petito was reported missing by her family a month later and is now the subject of a nationwide search. (The Moab Police Department via AP)

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

He was last seen Wednesday by family members in Florida, and investigators have been searching for him for the past two days in a 24,000-acre wildlife reserve near Sarasota, Florida.

“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.

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 55 kilometres 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.