Authorities in Wyoming discovered human remains at Grand Teton National Park, where a search for Gabby Petito is underway, Teton County coroner Brent Blue told Fox News Sunday. During a press conference after the discovery, authorities said the body was "consistent" with a description of Petito and her family was notified. The full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm with 100% certainty though. The cause of death was also not determined.
Petito, 22, visited the Wyoming park on Aug. 27, and the FBI and local law enforcement began their search of the area on Saturday. The area where the remains were found will continue to be closed off to the public, as the investigation continues. Authorities also asked the public to continue sharing tips if they saw Petito or the white van she was traveling in.
To be clear, the remains found match the description of Gabby.— David Begnaud (@DavidBegnaud) September 19, 2021
Petito and her fiance, Brian Laundrie, 23, began a trip across the U.S. in their white 2012 Ford Transit. Her parents reported her missing on Sept. 11, weeks after Petito last spoke to her parents. Six days after Petito was last seen at Grand Teton National Park, Laundrie arrived at his parents' home in North Port, Florida without Petito. Authorities named Laundrie a person of interest after he refused to speak to police.
Florida police were criticized nationally for their handling of Laundrie, but North Port Police Department spokesman Josh Taylor told Fox News early Sunday they have not determined if there was a crime in connection with Petito's disappearance. "The North Port Police Department has no authority to execute a possible federal search warrant on our own," Taylor explained. "I don't see how anyone without all the facts in this case can come up with a reasonable conclusion and opinion on the matter." Authorities have seized the couple's white van, but they did not share the results of the search with the public.
In an interview with CNN's sister network HLN, Petito's father, Joe Petito, said he thought "something bad" may have happened. "My gut tells me that something bad happened. And I am never, I am never going to be able to hold my baby girl again," he said. "But my head tells me that if I focus on that, I'm not going to be able to do the job that needs to be done, that her boyfriend or fiancé should be doing."
Petito is one of three people to go missing in the area this summer. Robert Lowery, 46, was last heard from on Aug. 23 and last seen on video on Aug. 19. Cian McLaughlin, 27, was last seen hiking in the park on June 8 and was reported missing four days later.