Human remains consistent with the description of Gabby Petito of Blue Point have been found in Grand Teton National Park, the FBI confirmed Sunday evening.
“Earlier today, human remains were discovered consistent with the description of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito,” FBI Special Agent Charles Jones announced at 6:12 p.m., his voice cracking and sounding choked up. “Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100 percent that we found Gabby, but her family has been notified of this discovery.
“The cause of death has not been determined at this time,” added Jones, who also extended “sincere and heartfelt condolences” to Petito’s family.
“As every parent can imagine, this is an incredibly difficult time for the family and friends, Jones said. “We ask that you all respect their privacy as they mourn the loss of their daughter.”
Petito, 22, was reported missing on Sept. 11, more than a week after her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, 23, returned home from the couple’s cross country road trip without her. The story of her disappearance has captured the attention and the heart of the nation.
Laundrie, possibly the last person to see Petito alive, was identified Wednesday by police as a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance. He is now also missing — since at least Friday. That’s when North Port Police in Florida learned from his parents that he had been missing since leaving for a hike on Tuesday, Sept. 14.
Petito’s family had not heard from her since Aug. 25, during a Facetime call. She had been traveling all summer with Laundrie — a Bayport-Blue Point High School classmate – in a converted white van, exploring national parks in Wyoming and Utah.
The couple had moved to North Port two years ago and were living with Laundrie’s parents. They left Long Island for their cross country trip on July 2.
For weeks and weeks, Petito and Laundrie documented their journey with happy-go-lucky posts on Instagram and YouTube. But police officer bodycam footage recorded during an Aug. 12 encounter the couple had with Moab City Police revealed an entirely different scipt.
In the footage, Petito is crying uncontrollably in front of police after a physical altercation between the 22-year-old and her boyfriend triggered a witness to call 911. The video also showed Laundrie explaining to cops how he sustained scratches on his arms and why he was driving fast and erratic in the moments before pulling over for the police.
“My gut tells me that something bad happened and I am never, I’m never going to be able to hold my baby girl again.” Gabby Petito’s dad Joseph of Vero Beach, Florida told HLN this weekend. “But my head tells me, that if I focus on that, I’m not gonna be able to do the job that needs to be done.”
Laundrie’s family released the following statement Sunday night:
“The news about Gabby Petito is heartbreaking. The Laundrie family prays for Gabby and her family.”
Above photo: Instagram / @gabspetito / July 21