The initial determination is that Petito's manner of death is homicide, but the cause of her death will only be revealed once the final autopsy is done.
Officials have confirmed that the body they found over the weekend near Grand Teton National Park belongs to Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old woman who went missing while on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend.
The confirmation was given by the Teton County coroner in a statement, according to ABC News. The initial determination is that Petito's manner of death is homicide, but the cause of her death will only be revealed once the final autopsy is done, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue said.
On Sunday, September 19, 2021, the FBI announced they had found a body matching the description of Petito during a press conference on Sunday. “On behalf of the FBI personnel and our partners, I would like to extend sincere and heartfelt condolences to Gabby’s family,” FBI agent Charles Jones said. “As every parent can imagine, this is an incredibly difficult time for the family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
“Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100 percent that we found Gabby. The cause of death has not been determined at this time. We appreciate your continued support and patience as we work through this process,” Jones said.
Petito, a Long Island native, was first reported missing on September 11, 2021. The 22-year-old influencer was on a cross-country trip with her boyfriend who she had been seeing for two years when she disappeared.
The pair set out for their trip in early July, leaving from Florida before heading to New York and eventually making their way out west. Petito had been documenting her travels on YouTube. She last spoke to her mom on August 24, 2021. Meanwhile, Petito's boyfriend is said to have returned to his parent's home in Florida on September 1, 2021, without her, reports HuffPost.
According to PEOPLE, Petito and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, 23, lived with his parents in Florida, prior to the trip. Laundrie’s family released a statement later Sunday, calling the news “heartbreaking.”
Laundrie is reportedly missing after his parents reported to the authorities that they had not seen him since Sept. 14. Days after he returned home on Sept. 1 he refused to speak with investigators about the whereabouts of Petito, reports The New York Times.
Meanwhile, FBI Denver Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider said in a statement that Laundrie has been named a person of interest. "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," he said in a statement.
Cover Image Source: Instagram | Gabby Petito (@gabspetito)