Authorities believe a body found near Grand Teton National Park is Gabby Petito, the missing girl who drew the nation’s attention after her fiance returned from a cross-country trip without her. It’s not yet clear how she died.
The body, found on Sunday near the eastern border of Grand Teton, is believed to be that of Petito, the FBI reported, adding that the remains were found by law enforcement. Her family has been notified, but a full forensic identification has not yet been attempted.
Fiance Brian Laundrie – who arrived at his parents’ home in North Port, Florida in September without the girl he’d set out with months earlier from Long Island on a cross-country van trip – has also gone missing after police declared him a person of interest in the case. His whereabouts have remained unknown since Tuesday, though he had initially been staying with his parents upon returning with the couple’s van.
Over 50 law enforcement officers are currently hunting for Laundrie amid the massive 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County, Florida, a wildlife area not far from his parents’ home.
The young couple were reportedly childhood sweethearts who met while growing up in Long Island, setting out on their cross-country van adventure – which would be extensively documented on Instagram by Petito – in July. Ten days after Laundrie returned home in the van without the girl, her parents filed a missing persons report with Suffolk County police.
The last confirmed sighting of the couple by police was on August 12, when the van was pulled over for hitting a curb and the young travelers were found to have been fighting to such an extent the cops mulled charging at least Petito with domestic violence. The pair were separated for the night, with Laundrie taken to a hotel and Petito allotted the van.
The Petitos’ lawyer said the family would make a public statement in the future and asked that they be given space to mourn their loss.
While seemingly every aspect of the mystery of Petito’s disappearance has been chewed over on social media, others have rolled their eyes at the massive media response to the blond, attractive, white Petito, when hundreds of thousands of people go missing every year without nearly so much media attention.
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