Body found in Yellowstone National Park amid search for Gabby Petito


Bodycam shows Gabby Petito argued with boyfriend before she vanished in Wyoming national park. Video / AP

Federal Police believe the body recovered in a Wyoming forest is that of missing New York woman Gabby Petito.

Authorities confirmed shortly after the body was found on Sunday local time, that the identity was “consistent with the description” of the 22-year-old woman, who vanished late last month while on a cross-country trip with her fiance Brian Laundrie.

Speaking to media, FBI Denver special agent Charles Jones said the family of Petito had been notified of the discovery.

“On behalf of the FBI personnel, I’d like to extend my sincere and heartfelt condolences to Gabby’s family,” Jones said, adding that no cause of death had been confirmed.

“As every parent can imagine, this is an incredibly difficult time for the family. We ask that you all respect their privacy as they mourn the loss of their daughter.”

Petito last spoke to her mom in Blue Point on August 25, and was reported missing September 11.

Laundrie, 23, who was on a cross-country trip with his beau, returned home in her van on September 1, but without Petito. He refused to help police with the search.

He has now also gone missing and is the subject of a second search in the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County, Florida.

Petito is one of three people who have gone missing in or near Grand Teton park this summer.

Pepito and Brian Laundrie. Photo / Supplied
Pepito and Brian Laundrie. Photo / Supplied

Mobile phone tracking data found

Police earlier obtained mobile phone tracking data for Petito and Laundrie.

The breakthrough meant authorities had some information about the missing pair’s movements, but they still needed search warrants to gain “complete access”.

An “abandoned” van was also reportedly spotted, as authorities tightened the timeline of the couple’s movements.

The couple embarked on a cross-country road trip before Petito vanished – and 23-year-old Laundrie mysteriously returned home without her.

Local police said they had been trying to speak to Laundrie but he was refusing to talk.

His family later said he was missing too.

Now police in Florida are hoping the access to their devices could provide key clues to the whereabouts of the duo, according to ABC7 reporter Jeff Butera.

He revealed in a tweet that although it does not allow police to track Petito and Laundrie in real-time, it could help piece together their movements since the 22-year-old travel blogger disappeared.

The “free-spirited” Long Island native was last seen on August 24, 2021, checking out of a hotel with Laundrie in Salt Lake City, Utah.

She had been travelling with her fiance in a converted van since July 2 and had planned to arrive in Portland, Oregon, and visit a family friend for Halloween.

Just weeks earlier, the pair had been stopped by police and questioned about an apparent domestic dispute that had been reported.

Petito’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, revealed that she heard from her daughter on August 27 and 30 but she told Fox News she is not sure if it was actually her as only text messages were exchanged.

She then reported her daughter missing on September 11 at around 6.55pm.

Police say Laundrie had returned home alone to his home in North Port on September 1, before hiring an lawyer and refusing to co-operate with the investigation.

This police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Gabby Petito talking to police. Photo / AP
This police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Gabby Petito talking to police. Photo / AP

Laundrie allegedly approached a couple at Grand Teton National Park in Colter Bay, Wyoming, on August 29, to ask for a ride.

Wisconsin-based TikTok user Miranda Baker said he told her and her boyfriend he was hiking alone and had been camping for numerous days.

He was named a “person of interest” as he continued to avoid FBI interviews.

But as of Tuesday, his family said he has since also gone missing – sparking a huge double search operation.

His parents told police he had left home Tuesday with a backpack, telling them he was going for a hike in the area.

Police said it was “fair to say” that Laundrie could potentially pose a threat to himself or others.

Petito is described as 5’5 tall, 110 pounds, and has two tattoos, a triangle tattoo on her left arm with flowers and a “Let it be” tattoo written on her right arm.

The FBI Denver appear to be focusing their attention for the 22-year-old on the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Laundrie speaking with police in Utah. Photo / Supplied
Laundrie speaking with police in Utah. Photo / Supplied

‘Abandoned’ van reportedly discovered

Gabby Petito’s converted white van was spotted last month near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming — two days after the missing Long Island native was last heard from, her family says.

Footage of the 2012 Ford Transit was spotted on Aug. 27 by travel bloggers Jenn and Kyle Bethune and posted to their YouTube Sunday.

“We came across a white van that had Florida plates,” Jenn Bethune said. “A small white van. We were going to stop and say hi because we’re from Florida too, but the van was completely dark. There was nobody there, so we decided to continue on our way.”

The couple, who are documenting their family’s travels across the country, said the van seemed “abandoned.”

The Bethunes said they saw the van around 6pm or 6:30pm, parked off to the side, and later travelled back on the road and saw it again.

“It’s kind of freaky for a late Saturday evening,” Kyle Bethune said. “But we just kind of had a brain fart, ‘Oh, there’s that van.’

The Bethunes’ video is only one of several sightings reported to authorities, who have asked for the public’s help to determine where Petito could be.

Petito’s family said they and the FBI were aware of the Bethune’s video.

“We believe this is the van for multiple reasons,” the kin wrote Sunday on the “Find Gabby” Facebook page. “Please do not clog up the tip line with the same video. This is in the hands of the right people. Thank you so much, this is exactly why we are asking people to review older photos and video. #FindGabby”

Among the other reported sightings was by traveller Shannon Baker, who told KST-TV that she and her husband were driving through the Jenny Lake area of Grand Teton on Aug. 25 when they saw the van around 5pm.

“I’m sure of it,” Baker told KST. “It had the black ladder on the back and the two black rooftops on top, the two bars, and we made the comment that would be the perfect little camper to go around in.”

It wasn’t until last week, when they saw reports of Petito going missing, that they realised that was the same vehicle.

“I said, ‘Oh my god!’ That’s the same van we saw,” Baker said. “Without a doubt, on my husband’s life, I know for a fact that was their van.”

Gabby Petito in Yellowstone National Park. Photo / Supplied
Gabby Petito in Yellowstone National Park. Photo / Supplied

Authorities have been poring over hundreds of tips and searching large swathes of Wyoming and Utah since Petito was reported missing Sept. 11 and news of her disappearance went viral.

“All those little pieces can be little pieces of the puzzle to helps us figure out where Gabby is,” St. Clayton Platt of the Teton County Sheriff’s Office told KST.

Petito, 22, last spoke to her mum, Nichole Schmidt, on Aug. 25, and later mysteriously vanished — while her Laundrie, 23, returned to their home in Florida alone Sept. 1.

Meanwhile, Laundrie, who lawyered up and refused to talk to investigators, is now the subject of another massive search after disappearing last week from the North Port, Florida, home he shared with Petito and his parents.

Laundrie’s parents told police their son went off for a hike in the vast Carlton Reserve near their home on Tuesday and never returned.



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