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Autopsy results have confirmed that remains discovered in Wyoming over the weekend are indeed Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito and that she died by homicide.
“Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue confirmed the remains are those of Gabrielle Venora Petito, date of birth March 19, 1999,” the FBI tweeted on Tuesday afternoon. “Coroner Blue’s initial determination for the manner of death is homicide. The cause of death remains pending final autopsy results.”
Petito’s remains were discovered on Sunday as investigators searched the border of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. That is where she was when her mother last spoke to her on Aug. 25 via phone. The 22-year-old travel blogger was road tripping the country with her 23-year-old boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, who vanished a week ago.
Laundrie, dubbed a person of interest in Petito's disappearance last week by authorities, returned to the home of his parents in Florida in the van on Sept. 1 without Petito; her family, who live in New York, reported her missing 10 days later, having lost contact with her.
The FBI is seeking information from anyone who was at the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in Grand Teton National Park between Aug. 27 and Aug. 30 and who may have come into contact with the couple or seen Petito’s white 2012 Ford Transit van. The vehicle is registered to Petito with Florida plate QFTG03 and has a variety of stickers slapped on the back. The FBI has shared a map of the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area.
The FBI noted on Tuesday that Laundrie is still considered a person of interest.
"Anyone with information concerning Mr. Laundrie's role in this matter or his current whereabouts should contact the FBI," Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider said.
An effort to find Laundrie has since been underway at the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve in Florida’s Sarasota County. Searches on both Saturday and Sunday turned up no evidence. By Tuesday, the FBI-led search was on again, this time through “gator and snake-infested swamps,” police in North Port stated on Tuesday.
Weeks before Petito vanished, the couple was pulled over after a witness claimed he saw Laundrie slapping and chasing Petito in Moab, Utah. In bodycam footage of the subsequent police stop, the couple makes no mention of Laundrie becoming violent towards Petito.
In the footage, Petito is seen telling one of the officers that Laundrie locked her out of the van. She admitted to slapping him when she said she felt he was going to abandon her in Moab. Petito reluctantly admitted, after one of the officers prodded her, that Laundrie had. grabbed her by the face and pushed her. Petito also said she hit Laundrie and called him “stupid” as they were being pulled over. Police ultimately decided that Petito was the “primary aggressor.”
In the police footage, Laundrie is seen laughing as officers told him he was considered the victim in the incident. The officers decided not to make any arrests and instead separated the couple, taking Laundrie to a hotel to spend the night and leaving Petito with the van. Both agreed to not contact each other until the next morning. Police Chief Bret Edge told Oxygen.com that no charges were brought as there was little evidence from the scene of the tussle.
The FBI stated on Tuesday that it wants to extend sincere condolences to Petito's family, friends, and "all the people whose lives she touched."
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