Gabby Petito: Body found near Wyoming search site, feds say

TETON COUNTY, Wyo. — Agents with the FBI Denver field office confirmed early Sunday evening that a body has been located near the area of Wyoming being searched for Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito.

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Charles Jones, a supervisory special agent for FBI Denver, told reporters during a Sunday evening news conference at the Craig Thomas Discovery and Visitor Center in Grand Teton National Park that human remains were found earlier in the day that are “consistent with the description” of Petito.

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Full forensic testing to confirm the body’s identity will be required, but Jones confirmed that Petito’s family has been notified of the discovery.

Authorities have been searching Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming for any traces of 22-year-old Petito, whose family reported her missing Sept. 11 and whose disappearance launched a separate manhunt for her fiance, Brian Laundrie, in a Florida nature preserve.

A cause of death for the body discovered Sunday has not been determined, Jones said, offering “sincere and heartfelt condolences to Gabby’s family.”

Petito’s family reported her missing weeks after they last heard from her at the end of August, while she was visiting Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park. Police said Petito, 22, contacted family members regularly until then. Petito and her fiance, Brian Laundrie, had been traveling the country since July in a converted Fort Transit camper van, according to The Associated Press.

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Police said Laundrie drove the van back to the Florida home he shared with Petito and his parents on Sept. 1, but Petito was not with him. He declined to speak with investigators regarding Petito’s disappearance and is considered a person of interest in the case, prompting an intensive search of a Florida nature preserve for him. He was last seen Tuesday by family members in Florida.

More than 50 law enforcement officers on Sunday started a second day of searching for Laundrie at the more than 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County, Florida, a wildlife area with more than 100 miles of trails, as well as campgrounds.

The couple’s trek in the Fort Transit van began in July from Long Island. They intended to reach Oregon by the end of October according to their social media accounts, but Petito vanished after her last known contact with family in late August from Grand Teton National Park, authorities said.

- The Associated Press contributed to this report.