Autopsy results have confirmed that the remains found Sunday in Bridger-Teton National Forest belonged to 22-year-old Gabby Petito, who, according to the FBI in Denver, went missing while exploring the national parks with her fiancé.
The FBI tweeted That Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue in his preliminary findings ruled the death to be a homicide.
“The cause of death is pending final autopsy results,” the FBI said, describing Pettito’s fiancée, Brian Laundry, as a person of interest.
“Anyone with knowledge of Mr. Laundry’s role in this case or his current whereabouts should contact the FBI,” said special agent in-charge Michael Schneider.
Prior to Pettito’s disappearance on a cross-country van trip with his fiancé, his conversation with his mother suggests that Pettito had “greater tension” with the laundry, a police affidavit for a search warrant. Indicates.
The affidavit, filed by Florida police last week, offers new insight into what investigators have found as they try to trace not only what happened to Petito, but also the current whereabouts of the fiancée, who is also the victim of the crime. Months returned to Florida without him.
Human remains, consistent with Pettito’s description, were found on Sunday in an undeveloped camping area in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest on the eastern edge of Grand Teton National Park, officials said. Blue told CNN.
Her family told through a lawyer that they needed time to grieve.
“We will make a statement when Gabby is home,” attorney Richard Benson Stafford said in a statement obtained by KSL affiliated with CNN.
And a police search for fiancé, Brian Laundry, resumed Tuesday at a Florida nature reserve, where his parents reportedly said he indicated he was leaving last week.
“A weekend ground search and aerial search in the 25,000-acre protected area on Monday has not yet responded, but we must move forward,” North Port Police said on Facebook. Police indicated that a search operation was carried out in another part of the reserve on Tuesday.
Petito, 22, and Laundry, 23, were road-tripping from New York over the summer in a white van via the US West, regularly posting photos and stories on their social media pages with the hashtag #vanlife.
Those posts suddenly closed in late August, and Laundry returned to his North Port, Florida, home on September 1 without Pettito in his van, whose family reported his disappearance on September 11. Officers are searching for Laundry, whose parents told investigators he had left the house. A backpack is searched September 14, and his home including Monday.
The case has become an obsession for many, prompting digital detectives to hunt through the couple’s online trail. The story has also uncovered the stories of thousands of unsolved missing persons.
Before disappearing, Petito sent several text messages and had several conversations with his mother via cell phone during their travels, with Florida police last week filing for a search warrant for an external hard drive found in the couple’s van. written in the application.
In those conversations, “there appeared to be a greater tension between her and Laundry,” the affidavit reads. On August 27, Petito’s mother received one last communication from her daughter, which she called a “strange text”, in the affidavit. Having said.
The message read: “Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemail and missed calls.” Because the text message referred to Pettito’s grandfather as Stan, his mother was concerned that something was wrong, the warrant states.
After that text message, Petito’s phone was no longer on and she stopped posting anything on social media about her trip, Warrant says.
On August 30 another text arrived, which read, “No service at Yosemite,” but her family suspects she wrote it, said Richard Stafford, an attorney representing Joseph Pettito and his mother, Nicole Schmidt. said.
There has also been other evidence of tension between Petito and the laundry. A 911 audio recording in Utah sheds new light on a now-famous incident in which police confronted the pair on August 12.
In a 911 recording from the Grand County Sheriff’s Office in Moab, Utah, a caller reports what he called a “domestic dispute” between a couple.
“We left and the gentleman was slapping the girl,” said the caller. “Then we stopped. They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, jumped in the car, and off they went.”
Police later stopped the couple, and previously released police documents and body-camera videos show what happened that day.
Although Pettito and Laundry are described in a police report as a physical fight after an argument, “the man and the woman both reported that they were in love and engaged to be married and no one was charged with the crime.” I don’t want to be seen,” Officer Eric Pratt wrote in the report.
At the suggestion of the police, the couple separated for the night, the report said, which described Petito as “confused and emotional”.
A National Park Service ranger, who also answered the call, interacted with Petito for about 90 minutes, and warned him that there were traces of “toxic” in his relationship with the laundry, the ranger told Utah’s Deseret News. .
Ranger Melissa Hulse said, “I was asking her to reevaluate the relationship, asking her if she was happy in a relationship with him, and basically saying it was her chance to find another way.” Was.” Deseret News.
CNN has sought comment from Hulse.
Woman says she picked up laundry hitchhiker
A woman has said she and her boyfriend took a laundry ride in Wyoming on August 29 – and Laundry claimed he had been camping by himself for days while Petitio in his van working on social media posts was back.
In a series of videos posted on TikTok, Miranda Baker said that she and her boyfriend picked up the laundry that evening while he was a hitchhiker in Colter Bay, Wyoming. This is not where the human remains consistent with Petito’s description were found in Bridger-Teton National Forest on Sunday.
Baker said Laundry offered to pay $200 for the ride before boarding the vehicle.
The laundry, which was wearing a backpack, pants and hiking boots, “looked clean and didn’t smell bad,” and was very polite, Baker said. Laundry told them he was camping “basically in the middle of nowhere” at a site outside Grand Teton National Park near the Snake River, she said.
Laundry claimed to have traveled several days on foot along that river, and had a tarp to sleep on, she said.
Once Laundry learned that Baker and her boyfriend were going to Jackson Hole instead of Jackson, he became agitated, asked the vehicle to stop, and drove off to Jackson Dam, according to Baker. She said they gave up on her less than 30 minutes after taking her.
Baker said he has spoken to law enforcement about his alleged interactions with the laundry.
North Port Police confirmed to CNN that Baker had spoken to the department before posting the video on TikTok.
“Her account is plausible, it appears,” said North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor.
CNN has not been able to independently verify Baker’s claims. The FBI has not returned a CNN request for comment.
FBI Searches Laundry’s Home
The FBI searched Laundry and his parents’ northern port home on Monday, removing a number of items over several hours.
North Port Police spokesman Joshua Taylor told CNN that Laundry’s parents, Christopher and Roberta, were taken from their home on Monday morning so that agents could execute a search warrant. He was later taken back inside for questioning.
His parents had previously told police that they hadn’t seen the laundry since September 14, when he told them he was going to the Carlton Reserve, a 25,000-acre natural habitat near Venice, Florida, according to officials. is reserve.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission said investigators resumed their search Tuesday at 8 a.m. ET.
North Port Police announced on Tuesday that they were resuming their search on the Venice side of the reserve, after saying they would shift their search away from the reserve, ending all avenues there. Commission spokesman Adam Brown said the request was made to Fish and Wildlife Commission agents on Monday afternoon.
Steven P. Bertolino, an attorney for Laundry’s family, said he would hold a news conference on Tuesday, but later canceled the event. He said the FBI requested that he not hold the conference.
Agents removed several items from the home on Monday, and a Ford Mustang convertible was also removed.
He had refused to speak to investigators before his parents told police that Laundry had left the house on September 14, and that the family had directed them to their lawyer, police said. said. Laundry has not been charged in this case.
‘He touched the world,’ says father
FBI Denver Supervisory Senior Resident Agent Charles Jones in Wyoming said pathologists would conduct a full forensic examination of the remains found on Sunday to confirm the identity. He said the authorities should also identify the cause of death.
Petito’s family has been informed of the discovery.
Her father, Joseph Petito, tweeted a picture of his daughter on Sunday evening, saying, “He touched the world.” According to a statement obtained by WABC affiliated with CNN, Richard Stafford, an attorney representing Joseph Petito and his mother, Schmidt, asked the family to give the location.
The laundry family’s attorney, Steven Bertolino, called the news “heartbreaking,” adding that “the laundry family prays for Gabby and her family.”
According to a statement from ABC News, Laundry’s sister praised Petito for her relationship with Laundry’s nephews.
Cassie Laundry said, “Gabby was a fun and loving influence for the ‘boys’ as she always referred to them. We will cherish the time we spent with her.”