In the US state of Wyoming, police have found a body that “matches” the description of 22-year-old missing woman Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito. That’s what the FBI reports. Her disappearance has gripped the United States for days.
Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie (23) were on a road trip through the United States when the young woman suddenly disappeared. Laundrie showed up alone at home but is now also missing. The police are conducting a manhunt.
YouTube star “Gabby” Petito was reported missing on September 11 after her fiancé Brian Laundrie returned alone on September 1 from their months-long journey across the United States. In June, the couple left Petito’s home state of New York in a white Ford Transit van for their road trip west of the country. The couple wanted to travel for four months, visit national parks and camp in the wild.
At a press conference on Sunday night, the FBI announced that a body that “matches” Petito’s description has been found. The federal police service has yet to identify the body officially, and the cause of death has not yet been determined. However, Petito’s family is aware and has already been offered condolences by the FBI. The body was found during a search in a Wyoming National Park.
Shortly after the FBI press conference, Gabby Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, posted that his daughter is no longer alive. “Gabby Petito, she touched the world”, he writes with a photo of his daughter.
Meanwhile, her friend Laundrie also seems to have disappeared from the face of the earth. He told his parents to take a brisk walk in a vast nature reserve near his home. Dozens of agents are now combing that domain with, among other things, sniffer dogs and drones. Before his own disappearance, Laundrie refused to cooperate with the investigation and hired a lawyer.
“We are deeply concerned that Laundrie has harmed herself,” police spokesman Josh Taylor told the New York Post. “He may have shot himself in the head, but at the moment, we don’t know where he is.”
For the time being, the American police only see him as a ‘person of interest’ in the case. But, according to The New York Times, the two fiancés had a severe argument during their trip.
On August 12, the police pulled the couple over near Arches National Park in the US state of Utah for speeding. On images from the bodycams of the officers, a crying Petito can be seen. She tells how she quarrelled with Laundrie that morning. According to him, the footage also shows that Laundrie has been injured in the face because his fiancé has lashed out at him with her smartphone.
Petito tells officers she wanted to hit Laundrie because she was afraid he would “leave her in Moab without transportation.” In the police report, Laundrie is described as the victim of the incident. They arrange for him to stay in a hotel that night while Petito sleeps in the van. No charges were filed, the report said.
After August 12, ‘happy’ Instagram posts from the 22-year-old woman will appear again. However, numerous followers now see suspicious signals, partly because the two engaged no longer appear together in the photos. The last photo on her personal profile appeared on August 26.
The police also confirmed that testimony from a TikTokster is under further investigation. She claimed in a video that she and her boyfriend took a hitchhiker in Grand Teton National Park on August 29. Now she realizes that that was Laundrie.
“He even offered $200 to ride, but we let him sit in the back of our Jeep for free,” said the woman. “When I dropped after half an hour that we were on our way to Jackson Hole, he became restless. Suddenly he wanted out as fast as possible. He then tried to arrange a new elevator across the street.”
The bizarre encounter took place a day before Petito’s mother received a final text from her daughter. However, she wonders if it was really Gabby who sent that message.