Gabby Petito: Autopsy confirms body found in Wyoming forest is missing YouTuber

Further details of the autopsy will be released once Gabby Petito was ‘home’, the family attorney says

Bevan Hurley
In New York
Wednesday 22 September 2021 01:17
Questions surrounding case of missing Gabby Petito

Human remains found in the Bridger-Teton National Forest have been confirmed as belonging to Gabby Petito.

The Petito family attorney Richard Stafford confirmed the body was Ms Petito’s in a text to The Independent.

The FBI revealed that Ms Petito’s death had been determined to be a homicide, but the cause of death had not been established after a preliminary autopsy.

Ms Petito’s remains were located near Spread Creek in the Bridger-Teton National Forest on Sunday after an extensive search led by FBI agents.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Petito family attorney Richard Stafford said he had wanted to wait until Ms Petito’s body had been returned home before making the autopsy results public.

“I want to personally thank the press and news media for giving the Petito and Schmidt family time to grieve,” Mr Stafford said in a statement.

“We will be making a statement when Gabby is home.”

An autopsy confirmed that remains found in the Bridger-Teton National Forest on Sunday were Gabby Petito

Ms Petito and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie left Long Island, New York, on 2 July for a ‘van-life’ tour of US national parks and camping reserves, and documented their trip on their shared YouTube account Nomadic Statik and on Instagram.

On 12 August, police in Moab, Utah, were notified of a domestic disturbance involving the couple. A witness called 911 to report they had seen Mr Laundrie hitting and slapping Ms Petito.

When the police officers pulled the couple’s Ford Transit van over, a visibly upset Ms Petito denied she had been hit and no charges were pressed.

Travel blogger describes driving past Gabby Petito’s van in Wyoming and capturing it on video

Ms Petito, 22, last spoke to her mother Nichole Schmidt on 25 August. Ms Schmidt believes several text messages sent from Ms Petito’s phone to her family between 27 and 30 August were faked, including one which claimed she was in Yosemite National Park.

An eyewitness told the FBI she saw Mr Laundrie alone and ‘acting weird’ several times in between 26 and 28 August in the Spread Creek area, close to the site where Ms Petito’s body was found in a Wyoming national park on Sunday.

Jessica Schultz told the San Francisco Chronicle she spotted the couple’s white Ford Transit van in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. several times in late August.

“He was very awkward and confused and it was just him, there was no Gabby,” Ms Schultz said.

A friend sent Ms Schultz bodycam footage of a domestic dispute between Ms Petito and Mr Laundrie in Moab, Utah, on 12 August, and she instantly recognised it as being he van she had passed in Bridger-Teton.

“My friend texted me a picture of the hat on the dashboard and I just lost my s***,” Ms Schultz told The Chronicle.

“And that’s when I called the FBI (on Thursday) and said, ‘Guys, look at Spread Creek.’”

Ms Schmidt tried to contact Mr Laundrie and his mother Roberta by text on 10 September, but they failed to answer her, and she reported Ms Petito missing on 11 September.

That night officers from the North Port Police Department seized the Ford Transit van they had been travelling in. The Laundrie family refused to speak to police officers, and instead provided them contact details for their attorney Steve Bertolino.

On 14 September, Mr Laundrie left his parent’s home, telling them he was going hiking in the nearby Carlton Reserve.

He was declared a “person of interest” in his girlfriend’s disappearance the next day, but his family only notified authorities he was missing two days later on September 17.

Police and FBI have conducted extensive searches of the 25,000-acre reserve with dogs, drones, and all-terrain vehicles, but they have failed so far failed to turn up any trace of Mr Laundrie.