Where is Gabby Petito's body now? FBI certain it is her even before forensic exam
TETON COUNTY, WYOMING: In the late hours of September 19, police finally confirmed that a body matching the description of the missing woman Gabby Petito has been found. Petito was reported missing weeks ago after her fiance Brian Laundrie returned home alone from their cross-country road trip with the van they were traveling in. Currently, Laundrie is also reported to be missing, last seen on Tuesday. Petito's alleged remains were found weeks after her mother heard from her for the last time on August 26 via a text that said there was "No service in Yosemite".
News of Petito's body's discovery comes after intense social media backlash directed at Brian Laundrie for choosing to remain silent about the woman's whereabouts. Laundrie, who was Petito's childhood sweetheart, returned from the road trip and immediately lawyered up, sparking suspicion. Limiting himself to brief statements through his lawyer Steven Bertolino, Laundrie declined to speak to the authorities regarding the investigation into Petito's disappearance. When he went missing too, both social media and Petito's family accused him of going into 'hiding'. Laundrie's disappearance came after he was dubbed a person of interest. As Petito's alleged remains await forensic evaluation, his innocence is under close scrutiny.
Where is Gabby Petito's body now?
Human remains found in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming are “consistent with the description of” Gabby Petito, authorities revealed on Monday, September 20. The vlogger's alleged remains were recovered after a joint operation by the FBI, National Park Service, US Forest Service, Teton County Sheriff's Office, and Jackson Police Department. A positive ID is yet to be made, but the FBI has already offered a note of condolence to the victim's family indicating their confidence that the body is in fact Petito's.
Recovered from an undeveloped camping area, near the eastern boundary of the national forest next to Grand Teton National Park, Petito's alleged body is expectedly under forensic evaluation at the moment. The recovery area had been sealed off when authorities looked for the 22-year-old vlogger. With the FBI confirming the area will remain closed "until further notice", authorities are also urging people to come forward if they were in the area between August 27 and 30, when Petito and Laundrie were believed to have been at that place.
What happened to Gabby Petito?
While nothing has been confirmed about the identity of the body that authorities have found, their condolence note to the grieving family speaks volumes. Petito's van was last seen on August 25 at Lake Jenny inside the park, some 33 miles away from Spread Creek. Petito's mom, Nicole Schmidt's suspicions surrounding the last text from her daughter's phone being sent by somebody else have also been confirmed in part as it seems the young woman never left Wyoming national park. Further, Petito was supposed to meet a friend at Yellowstone, whom she was also supposed to call on August 29. Considering that call was never made, it's possible Petito died the same day or before.
It is also not clear how Petito died, or when the tragedy occurred. As medical examiners evaluate her remains, it might be hard to settle on an exact date and time of her death, depending on how long the body was left exposed to elements. It is, however, worth noting that the last time Petito was seen on camera, she was caught mid-breakdown in a police officer's bodycam footage. This was when cops answered a domestic disturbance call due to an alleged altercation between the couple. Fumbling through tears, Petito disclosed her troubling mental health situation and blamed a fight between her and Laundrie on her fiance's lack of confidence in her 'van-life' vlogging career plans. Petito had allegedly attempted to slap Laundrie but neither of them wanted to press charges. With Laundrie's disappearance and silence however, he still very much remains a "person of interest".