Authorities confirmed Tuesday that remains found over the weekend at an undeveloped camping area in Wyoming's Bridger-Teton National Forest belonged to missing hiker Gabby Petito, and that the manner of death was likely homicide.
The 22-year-old social media influencer had been missing for nearly a month.
"On Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021, human remains were located & recovered consistent with the description of Gabrielle 'Gabby' Petito. The remains were transported to the Teton County Coroner’s Office for forensic examination to confirm identity & determine the manner & cause of death," the FBI said in a statement.
"Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue confirmed the remains are those of Gabrielle Venora Petito, date of birth March 19, 1999. Coroner Blue’s initial determination for the manner of death is homicide. The cause of death remains pending final autopsy results," the FBI added.
FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider vowed to make anyone involved in Petito's death "held accountable for their actions."
Petito's boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, has been named a person of interest in the case.
"Anyone with information concerning Mr. Laundrie's role in this matter or his current whereabouts should contact the FBI," Schneider added.
Laundrie was the last known person to have seen Petito alive.
Authorities have tried to talk to the 23-year-old but he has not been cooperative, they said.
Petito's family have also pleaded with him and his family publicly to speak to investigators.
An attorney for Laundrie's family said the family would be "remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment" on the advice of counsel.
Laundrie has also been missing.
His parents said he went out for a hike Friday but never returned to their North Port, Florida, home. Authorities have cast a wide net in trying to track Laundrie down. At first, they looked for him in the sprawling Carlton Reserve near his home. They have also searched for him 500 miles away in Baker, Florida, acting on a tip that someone bearing his likeness was caught on a deer camera hiking through the wilderness.
Police have been trying to piece together what happened with the young couple on a cross-country road trip to national parks.
Laundrie returned from the couple's trip to his family's home on Sept. 1 in Petito's white van, though she was not with him.
Petito and Laundrie left for their months-long trip on July 22 from New York and made stops in Colorado and Utah . Petito was last seen on Aug. 24 when she and Laundrie checked out of a hotel in Salt Lake City.
Her mother, Nicole Schmidt, said she last heard from her daughter on Aug. 25, when Petito told her they were headed to Wyoming.
Schmidt said her daughter seemed "excited" about their next adventure but that she began to worry when Petito stopped communicating.
"A few days is one thing when you're out camping, but when it starts to become seven, eight, nine, 10 days, that's a problem," Schmidt said.
Petito's parents, who live on Long Island, New York, reported her missing on Sept. 11 after not hearing from her for two weeks.
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Original Author: Barnini Chakraborty
Original Location: FBI confirms missing remains belong to hiker Gabby Petito