NORTH PORT, Fla. (WFLA) — A body found near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Sunday during the search for North Port woman Gabby Petito matches the description of the missing 22-year-old, officials with the FBI in Denver confirmed.
“Earlier [Sunday,] human remains were discovered consistent with the description of Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Petito,” FBI spokesperson Charles Jones said. “Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100% that we found Gabby but her family has been notified of this discovery.”
Jones added that the cause of death had not yet been determined.
“On behalf of the FBI personnel and our partners, I would like to extend sincere and heartfelt condolences to Gabby’s family,” he said. “This is an incredibly difficult time for the family and friends.”
Moments after the announcement, Petito’s father posted a picture of his 22-year-old daughter with wings on Twitter.
“She touched the world,” he wrote, adding a broken heart emoji and the #GabbyPetito hashtag.
The North Port Police Department also shared their condolences to Petito’s family Sunday evening after learning about the FBI’s discovery in Wyoming.
Back in Florida, more than 50 law enforcement officers concluded their second day of searching on Sunday for Petito’s fiance, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie.
Laundrie, who was considered a person of interest in her disappearance, was reported missing Friday, according to an attorney for his family.
Police and FBI agents first focused their search for Laundrie on the 200 acres around the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park before spreading to the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County.
“We’ve got 50-plus folks searching,” said North Port Police Department’s public information officer, Josh Taylor. “We’ve got drones in the air, bloodhounds, K-9s, four-wheelers, side by sides.”
The couple left for a cross-country trek in a van on July 2 from Blue Point, New York, on Long Island. Petito and Laundrie were planning on visiting several national parks out west in Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.
Petito’s mom, Nichole Schmidt, said during a news conference on Sept. 13 she last spoke with her daughter on Aug. 25 while she was near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
“I wasn’t getting responses,” Schmidt said. “I believe she was in a place with no service. It was like day eight and nine I became really concerned. I figured she couldn’t be off the grid that long.”
“I don’t know if that was her texting me or not,” she said.
North Port police said Laundrie later returned to his parents’ home in North Port with the van on Sept. 1. Ten days later, on Sept. 11, family members reported Petito missing to Suffolk County police in New York.
Later that evening, North Port police found the van at Laundries’ parents’ home.
He was then named as a person of interest in the case on Sept. 15.
“It is important to note that while Brian is a person of interest in Gabby’s disappearance, he is not wanted for a crime,” North Port police said in a statement.
Laundrie’s family members told investigators that the last time they saw him was on Sept. 14 when they believe he went to the Carlton Reserve.