The FBI confirmed Sunday that the body found in a Wyoming national park is likely that of missing Long Island native Gabby Petito, who disappeared while on a cross-country trip with her boyfriend.
“First and foremost, I would like to extend sincere and heartfelt condolences to Gabby’s family,” an emotional Charles Jones, a supervisory senior resident agent with the FBI office in Denver, said at a press briefing.
“Earlier today, human remains were discovered consistent with the description of Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Petito,” Jones said. “Full forensics identification has not been completed to confirm 100 percent that we found Gabby, but her family has been notified of this discovery.”
“The cause of death has not been determined at this time,” he added.
Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, tweeted a photo of his daughter shortly after the announcement, with the caption, “She touched the world.”
North Port police in Florida also took to Twitter, expressing remorse.
“Saddened and heartbroken to learn that Gabby has been found deceased,” the department tweeted. “Our focus from the start, along with the FBI, and national partners, has been to bring her home.
“We will continue to work with the FBI in the search for more answers.”
Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue confirmed earlier Sunday that authorities had discovered a body at Bridger-Teton National Forest, where FBI, National Parks and local law enforcement officials have been searching for Petito since last week.
Petito, 22, went missing late last month while on a cross country trip with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie — who returned home without her on Sept. 1.
The Blue Point native last spoke to her family on Aug. 25, while a pair of YouTubers spotted her white 2012 Ford Transit van near Grand Teton two days later — but said the vehicle looked “abandoned.”
Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, reported her daughter missing to Suffolk County police on Sept. 11, and several days later Laundrie was identified as a person of interest in the case.
Laundrie lawyered up and refused to talk to police before he also disappeared last week, prompting a massive search of the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve near his parents’ home in North Port, Florida.
That search continued on Sunday until it was suspended for the day shortly before 6 p.m., with no sign of the missing 23-year-old.
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