The body found by search crews in a national park in Wyoming has been confirmed as belonging to missing influencer, Gabby Petito. A coroner has also determined that the cause of her death was homicide.
FBI Denver tweeted a statement, which included the following: “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,”
Over the last month, news has been trickling in about the disappearance of Gabby Petito. The case has not only gripped America, it has received international attention: from people anxious for her to be found, to those on TikTok who’ve questionably embraced the role of solving the case themselves.
In July earlier this year (2021), American blogger Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie embarked on a road trip together. After a month of travelling, Brian returned home to Florida without Gabby. On 11 September, Gabby was officially reported missing. Brian has since been reported as a missing person. On Sunday 19th September, police announced the discovery of a body matching the description of Gabby at a national park in Wyoming.
Charles Jones, a spokesperson for the FBI, spoke to the media after the body was found, saying, “As every parent can imagine, this is an incredibly difficult time for her family. Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100 per cent but her family has been notified.”
Following the announcement, Gabby’s father Joseph Petito shared a touching tribute to his daughter, tweeting, “#GABBYPETITO she touched the world,” alongside a photo of Gabby.
It is believed that Gabby and Brian embarked on their trip from New York in July earlier this year, in a converted camper van, which they documented on YouTube as ‘Our Van Life Journey’.
The last post on Gabby’s Instagram is dated 26 August. Her mother, Nicole Schmidt, reported that the last time she spoke to Gabby, she was staying in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Gabby was last seen walking out of a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah, on 24 August.
After Gabby was reported missing at the start of September, Brian Laundrie returned to his parent’s house in Florida with the van he and Gabby had been travelling in. The van has since been seized by the North Port Police Department who told Insider: “We showed up. We see the vehicle. We take the vehicle. We make an attempt to talk with Brian, and his family declined to make him available, and they gave us the information for his attorney.”
Brian has since been reported missing. Following the news that a body had been discovered, his family shared the statement, “The news about Gabby Petito is heartbreaking. The Laundrie family prays for Gabby and her family.”
Police in Utah have since released body camera footage of an encounter two of their officers had with the Gabby and Brian during a traffic stop on 12 August. The footage shows, Gabbie crying as she reports having an argument with Brian, which had become physical. Neither of the couple were detained, but officers insisted that they spend the night apart, with Petito in the van and Laundrie in a hotel.
The case has prompted an Internet furore: Gabby’s Instagram posts have been flooded with comments questioning Brian’s involvement in her disappearance, theorising that he was posting from Gabby’s social media accounts, and questioning why he returned home without her.
Our thoughts are with Gabby’s family and friends during this distressing time.