The FBI confirmed on Tuesday that the remains found in Wyoming are those of Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old who was reported missing earlier this month while on a trip with her fiancé.
The FBI's Denver office said Teton County Coroner Brent Blue’s initial determination on the manner of Petito’s death was homicide, but the final cause of death is pending until the final autopsy results are available.
The announcement from the FBI comes as authorities continue to search for Brian Laundrie, Petito’s fiancé, who was seen by his parents last week. The FBI says Laundrie is a person of interest.
“The FBI’s commitment to justice is at the forefront of each and every investigation,” FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider said in a statement.
“The FBI and our partners remain dedicated to ensuring anyone responsible for or complicit in Ms. Petito’s death is held accountable for their actions. Mr. Brian Laundrie has been named a person of interest. Anyone with information concerning Mr. Laundrie’s role in this matter or his current whereabouts should contact the FBI,” he added.
#FBIDenver appreciates the collaboration of all agencies and personnel who assisted in the search, recovery, and identification efforts. @NatlParkService @forestservice @GrandTetonNPS @BridgerTetonNF pic.twitter.com/2CWXNBMUn2— FBI Denver (@FBIDenver) September 21, 2021
Petito was reported missing on Sept. 11 after disappearing during a cross-country road trip with her fiancé. They were visiting national parks and had been documenting their travels on YouTube and Instagram.
She was last seen in late August and eventually stopped corresponding with her family. The last time her family heard from her was in a text message on Aug. 27 to Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, that read, “Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls,” referring to Petito’s grandfather.
Schmidt said the message was an “odd text,” according to an affidavit cited by CNN.
The family received another text message from Petito on Aug. 30 that read, “No service in Yosemite,” but her family does not believe she wrote it, according to CNN, citing Schmidt and attorney Richard Stafford, who is representing Joseph Petito, Gabby's father.
Laundrie returned to the North Port, Fla., home he lived in with Petito and his parents on Sept. 1 with Petito’s 2012 Ford Transit van, which has since been confiscated by authorities and processed for evidence.
Laundrie initially refused to cooperate with police and then disappeared, according to NBC News. His family told investigators that the 23-year-old went hiking in Carlton Reserve last Tuesday and never came back.
The FBI executed a search warrant at the Florida home of Laundrie’s parents on Monday.
Reports are now surfacing that may shed light on the relationship between Petito and Laundrie in her final days.
A 911 call released by the Grand County Sheriff’s Office in Moab, Utah, features a caller reporting what he said was a “domestic dispute” between a couple on Aug. 12, according to CNN.
Officer Eric Pratt wrote in the report that “both the male and female reported they are in love and engaged to be married and desperately didn't wish to see anyone charged with a crime,” according to CNN.
The report, however, described Petito as “confused and emotional.”
Charles Jones, the supervisory senior resident agent at FBI Denver, announced on Sunday that human remains “consistent with the description” of Petito were found earlier that day in Wyoming.
Jones also said that the area around Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area, where officials were searching, would remain closed to the public until further notice, noting that there was an active and ongoing investigation.
This story was updated at 6:17 p.m.