Medical examiners were about to perform an autopsy on a body found in Wyoming on Tuesday, trying to determine whether it was 22-year-old “Van Life” passenger Gabby Pettito, whose disappearance has gripped Americans.
An investigation into the remains found Sunday in a remote area of Bridger-Teton National Forest in western Wyoming comes as police and FBI agents search for her fiancé Brian Laundry.
Petito and Laundry left their home state of New York in late June or early July, heading west in their white vans with plans to visit America’s national parks and document the trip on social media.
Laundry returned to North Port, Florida, alone in a van on September 1. Ten days later, Petito’s family members reported his disappearance. Prior to the disappearance, Laundry had refused to speak to investigators and retained a lawyer.
Investigators have called the 23-year-old Laundry a “person of interest” in the case. His parents told FBI agents that they last saw him a week ago, when he told them he planned to live alone in the 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve wilderness area near North Port.
North Port Police said on Tuesday that they had resumed a search for the marshy area. Police had previously called off the search after having “expired all avenues” to find the laundry.
Investigators spent much of Monday searching the laundry home, loading cardboard boxes into a van and removing a silver Ford Mustang.
Laundry family attorney Steven Bertolino has canceled a news conference scheduled for Tuesday afternoon, multiple media outlets reported.
Attorney Steven Bertolino told the New York Post, “There will be no press conference this evening as per my conversations with the FBI.” But Bertolino said it was “not true” that the FBI had advised him to cancel.
Witnesses last saw Petito on August 24 when she left the Salt Lake City hotel. She posted her last picture of the trip on social media the next day. Pettito’s family believes she was on her way to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming when they last heard from her.
His body was discovered at the edge of the park, less than 1,000 feet (300 m) from where the white van parked on the side of a dirt road near Spread Creek was reported to travel bloggers on the evening of August 27. A couple filmed.
An FBI spokesman has said the body was “contiguous” with that of a 5’5, 110-pound Petito. The autopsy, scheduled for Tuesday, was expected to identify the remains and determine the cause of death.
In seeking a search warrant, investigators cited a text allegedly sent by Pettito to his mother, Nicole Schmidt, on August 27, which described receiving repeated calls and voice messages from Pettito’s grandfather “Stan”. has gone.
Schmidt told investigators that the message was strange because the young woman did not usually call her grandfather by his first name. Petito’s family has said a second text message also sounded suspicious.
Last week, police in Moab, Utah, released body camera footage of an August 12 encounter during a traffic stop by two of their officers with Pettito and Laundry.
Petito cries in the video as she describes a fight with the laundry that she says gets physical at times. Authorities did not take the couple into custody, but insisted that they spend that night apart from Petito in the van and laundry at the hotel.