According to her family, they lost contact with Gabby in late August, and her last known location was in Wyoming near Grand Teton National Park.
On September 17, Friday, the rumours surrounding the whereabouts of Gabby Petito intensified when police in Florida announced they were cooperating with the FBI to find Petito’s fiance, Brian Laundrie, who is classified as “a person of interest” in her disappearance.
Petito and Laundrie stayed in their van while out on a “van life” tour across the southwest United States. Since Laundrie returned to Florida alone, Petito’s family filed her missing last week.
Last Saturday, authorities scoured a large Florida wildlife reserve for Laundrie while the FBI combed a mountainous national park in Wyoming for details relating to Petito.
The 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve in the Sarasota region of the Gulf Coast was investigated by more than 50 North Port policemen, FBI agents, and officials of other law enforcement organisations.
The reserve, which includes more than 100 miles of trails and campgrounds, investigators employed drones, scent-sniffing dogs, and all-terrain vehicles.
Investigators took some of Laundrie’s clothes from his parents’ house so that search dogs would have something to sniff out.
Two People Went On A Trip, Only One Person Returns
Detectives from the FBI’s Denver office were doing ground inspections in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, with assistance from the National Park Service and local law enforcement. Petito’s final known communication with family members took place in the park, notorious for its rugged terrain.
According to the authorities, Laundrie’s family informed officials they hadn’t seen him since Tuesday, but they hadn’t reported him missing for three days.
The discussion on Friday evening, police claimed, was the first time they had talked to Laundrie’s family in-depth, and it took place at the family’s request. According to police, an attorney contacted FBI investigators and stated that they wanted to speak with them. Police said in a second statement that the inquiry had evolved into a “multiple missing persons” incident.
Richard B Stafford, an attorney representing the Petito family, issued statements in response, saying, “All of Gabby’s family want the world to know that Brian is not missing, he is hiding. Gabby is missing.”
Police in Utah released footage on Thursday showing Petito, 22, and Laundrie having an argument in the tourist spot of Moab.
Following that, authorities and Petito’s family pleaded with Laundrie’s family to participate with investigators. But to no avail.
Petito’s relatives suspected her missing a month later. Laundrie had refused to talk to the police before his family reported him missing.
Laundrie’s unwillingness to meet investigators became a source of frustration.
“Two people left on a trip and one person returned!” the North Port police chief, Todd Garrison, tweeted on Wednesday.
The Family’s Frustrations
Because of Petito’s huge Instagram following, the issue has risen to national prominence. Her most recent post came on August 25th.
The pair were childhood sweethearts on Long Island, New York, and then relocated to Florida in 2019 to live with Laundrie’s parents in North Port, roughly 34 miles south of Sarasota. In July, their social media channels started their “van life” adventure and hoped to arrive in Oregon by Halloween.
On September 1, Laundrie returned to Florida with the Ford Transit van. Petito’s family filed a missing person statement with Long Island police and sent Laundrie’s parents a letter.
“We believe you know the location of where Brian left Gabby,” the letter said. “We beg you to tell us. As a parent, how could you let us go through this pain and not help us? As a parent, how could you put Gabby’s younger brothers and sisters through this?”
Steven Bertolino, Laundrie’s attorney, said the family hoped Petito would return safely but that he had requested them not to speak to detectives.
“I can’t speculate as to why [Laundrie is] not talking, but he has the pieces to the puzzle that we need to find Gabby.” Garrison, the police chief, told ABC
A Body Found In National Park
Police have concluded that the remains discovered in Wyoming woodland just yesterday are those of missing 22-year-old Gabby Petito; however, the cause of death has yet to be confirmed.
Authorities verified the identification of the 22-year-old woman, who went missing late last month while on a cross-country vacation with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, shortly after the remains was discovered on Sunday local time.
In a press conference, FBI Denver special agent Charles Jones stated that Ms Petito’s family had been told of the finding.
“On behalf of the FBI personnel, I’d like to extend my sincere and heartfelt condolences to Gabby’s family,” Mr Jones stated that the cause of death has not yet been determined.
“As every parent can imagine, this is an incredibly difficult time for the family. We ask that you all respect their privacy as they mourn the loss of their daughter.”
Petito is one of three people who have disappeared over the last few months in or around Grand Teton National Park.
Mr Jones stated that the body was discovered in the Spread Creek Dispersed camping area, which is still restricted due to an “active investigation.”
“Earlier today, human remains were found in the area consistent with Gabby Petito,” the officer said.
“Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100 per cent that we found Gabby, but her family has been notified of this discovery. The cause of death has not been determined at this time.”
Ms Petito’s remains were confirmed by North Port Police shortly after the news briefing.
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