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The widespread news coverage of the Gaby Petito case may finally bring closure this week to the family of a Texas hiker missing for over a month.
The body of a man matching the description of Robert Lowery was discovered Tuesday in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming, according to the Teton County Search and Rescue. The father of two had not been seen since August 20, when he was spotted by hikers who said that Lowery was carrying a black duffel bag and did not appear to be in any distress or in need of assistance, the Jackson Hole News & Guide reported.
The body was located about 17 miles from where Petito’s remains were found on September 19, the New York Times reported.
“The widespread news coverage of the Gabby Petito search helped bring light to Lowery’s case,” Teton County Search and Rescue said in a statement. Authorities don’t believe the two cases are connected.
At least two members of the public contacted authorities with information about two locations where Lowery was last seen, according to search and rescue.
“At about 1 p.m. a dog team located a body and black Nike duffel bag significantly off-trail on a steep, wooded slope,” according to the news release. “Collectively, the search teams hiked more than 75 miles and covered 22,500 feet in elevation.”
The man's cause of death is under investigation.
Before leaving Houston, Lowery had canceled his mail, Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Sachse told the News & Guide. The sheriff’s office pinged Lowery’s cell phone during their search, the last of which was on August 23 in Jackson, the paper reported.
Before the body was discovered, Leigh Lowery, his sister, told the News & Guide that her brother had recently gotten a sleeping bag and a tent, but added that he had no camping experience.
“The Teton County Sheriff’s Office informed our family this afternoon that the Search and Rescue team located a body that fits the description of our son, Robert ‘Bob’ Lowery near Black Canyon Trail. We await the Teton County, WY coroner’s report,” the Lowery family said in a statement, according to KPRC.
“Bob has been a wonderful father, son, brother and friend,” they said. “Our family wants to thank the news media and others involved in the search for our privacy at this difficult time.”
As previously reported by Oxygen.com Petito, 22, was reported missing earlier this month while on a cross-country van trip with her fiance, Brian Laundrie. He returned home to Florida without Petitio, whose remains were discovered weeks later. Her death has been ruled a homicide; Laundrie's whereabouts are not currently known.
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