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Body found matching US woman, Gabby Petito, who vanished during trip with boyfriend

Monday, 20 September 2021 (11:11 IST)
US law enforcement officers searching for a missing 22-year-old woman in a national park in Wyoming said on Sunday they have found human remains that match the woman's description.

Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito set off for a months-long road trip with her boyfriend this summer. He returned without her on September 1, sparking a missing persons' case that has gripped the US.

What is the latest?

FBI spokesman Charles Jones said that human remains were discovered in a remote camping area near the Grand Teton National Park that were "consistent" with the description of the missing woman.

"Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100% that we found Gabby, but her family has been notified of this discovery," he added.

The cause of death is not yet known. Medical examiners are expected to perform an autopsy and formally identify the body.

Following the announcement, Petito's father tweeted a picture of his daughter with the words: "she touched the world."

What do we know about the case?

Petito set out with her boyfriend, identified as 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, from New York in July for a road trip to visit several western US national parks.

He has been named as a "person of interest" in the case and declined to cooperate with authorities.

The couple documented their journey on social media, saying they intended to reach the western state of Oregon by October.

Petito's last known contact with her family was in late August, with the couple's next stop believed to be the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

The 22-year-old woman was never heard from again. Laundrie then drove the van they were traveling in to his family's home in Florida on September 1 - without Petito. Her family then filed a missing person's report on September 11.

Laundrie has also since disappeared, with his family saying they haven't seen him in days. Authorities in Florida are currently searching a large wilderness preserve where he is believed to be located, but have not found him.

"It is important to note that while Brian is a person of interest in Gabby's disappearance, he is not wanted for a crime," Florida police said on Friday.

During the search for Petito, it emerged that police in Utah had pulled over the van that Petito and Laundrie were traveling in on August 12 - responding to a domestic violence report.

The body cam footage from the traffic stop showed an emotional Petito saying she had an altercation with Laundrie. Police separated the two for the night and declined to press charges.


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