Remains similar to Petito’s description were found in Wyoming, USA on Sunday.
Gabby Pettito, 22, went missing during a road trip with her 23-year-old fiancé Brian Laundry, and was reported missing on September 11 by her family.
The ongoing case has prompted international speculation as online communities attempt to uncover the mystery based on Petito’s blogs about his van life with laundry.
What is the latest development?
The FBI confirmed it had found a body matching Petito’s description in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park on Sunday.
An autopsy is scheduled for Tuesday, according to CNN, although a full forensic identification would be needed to confirm that it is Petito.
The remains were close to the site where Pettito and Laundry’s van were sighted by another couple on August 25, although the two passengers themselves were not seen.
How is laundry involved?
Pettito’s search began when Laundry returned from a trip on September 1 without his fiancée.
Her family reported her missing ten days later, after being unable to make contact with her, while Laundry refused to speak to investigators after a missing persons case was registered.
He then left his home in Florida on Tuesday with a backpack, and disappeared in the local area. They were last seen in a nature reserve near North Port City.
He is designated as the “Person of Interest” in the ongoing case.
Police say they have “exhausted all avenues” in trying to find him – his family home is now being treated as a crime scene by the FBI as part of a “court-authorized search warrant” . His parents were taken out before the search and later brought back inside for questioning.
When the police first started their investigation, he reportedly refused to speak and informed his lawyer.
Police have since deployed drones and Bloodhounds using laundry clothes to find him.
He is not currently wanted for a crime.
What do we know about Laundry and Petito’s relationship?
Petito and Laundry were reportedly arguing and hitting each other, according to a Utah police report after they were seen fighting in downtown Moab on August 12.
Neither of them wanted the other to be charged when the police caught hold of their dispute.
In the report, Officer Daniel Robbins explained: “I do not believe the situation has escalated to the level of a domestic assault, so much as a mental health crisis.”
The couple were on a road trip in a white van across the western US over the summer, and will be sharing snippets of their experiences on social media with the hashtag #vanlife.
The two stopped posting in late August, and Petito stopped contacting his family around the same time.
Why did this missing person’s case get so much attention?
Petito’s Disappearance Has Been internet obsession For some – the hashtag #GabbyPetito has garnered 501 million views on TikTok.
Sadly, his case is not an anomaly – the National Crime Information Center reported that there were about 90,000 active missing person cases at the end of 2020 – but Petito’s disappearance has attracted widespread public attention.
Criminologist Scott Bonn, who studies why some crimes become cultural touchstones, explains Washington Post: “You find this beautiful young couple, supposedly in love, making this romantic adventure across the country, and then something really bad happens.”
Others speculate that the matter has escalated online because Petito is also many TikTokers of the same age, meaning they can identify his disappearance.
The online accounts analyzed everything Pettito and Laundry posted during their road trips, from changes in emoji use to camera angles.