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Autopsy confirms remains found in Grand Teton Park are Gabby Petito's

The FBI has confirmed that the body found in Grand Teton National Park is Gabby Petito. Her fiancé is still missing as manhunt is on to find him continues.

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Autopsy confirms remains found in Grand Teton Park are Gabby Petito's
Octavio Jones AFP

What appeared on social media post to be a romantic “vanlife” cross country trip ended in tragedy. 22-year-old Gabby Petito was reported missing 11 September by her family after her fiancé returned to the home the couple shared in Florida alone ten days earlier.

Her last known whereabouts was the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming where searchers found a body matching her description. An autopsy on Tuesday revealed that it was in fact Gabby Petito and the initial cause of death homicide. Her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, named a “person of interest” in Petito’s disappearance has been missing since last week.

Teton County Coroner identifies Gabby Petito’s body

Law enforcement agents announced on Sunday that crews searching for Gabby Petito had found human remains “consistent with the description of Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Petito,” in a remote area of Bridger-Teton National Forest. The body was discovered less than 1,000 feet from where the couple had filmed their white converted van beside a dirt road near Spread Creek on 27 August.

The Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue who performed the autopsy on Tuesday was able to identify the remains as those of Gabrielle Venora Petito the FBI Denver office announced. The cause of death remains pending a final autopsy but “Coroner Blue’s initial determination for the manner of death is homicide," the FBI tweeted.

Brian Laundrie has disappeared

No charges have been brought against Petito’s fiancé Laundrie, but he has been named a “person of interest” in the case. He has not been seen since leaving his parents’ Florida home last Tuesday, telling them he was going to hike alone in a nearby wilderness area. Prior to his disappearance he refused to speak with investigators and hired a lawyer.

Police only became aware that Laundrie had gone missing on Friday when his parents informed them that they hadn’t seen him for three days. Florida North Port police have resumed their search of the 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve to locate Laundrie where his parents believe he went.

On Monday the FBI executed a search warrant at Laundrie’s family’s home declaring it a crime scene after the yet unidentified body of Petito was discovered.

Tensions build over two-month road trip

Petito and Laundrie set out from their Florida home at the end of June travelling first to New York to attend Petito’s younger brother’s high school graduation. From there they made a cross-country road trip camping at national parks in their converted van and posting a travel blog on social media.

However, the first registered instance of tensions coming to a head occurred 12 August when police responded to a 911 call about a “possible domestic violence,” footage of which was recently made public. No charges were filed in the incident and police categorized it as a "mental/emotional health break" with all parties agreeing it was Petito who hit Laundrie. However, she did tell police that tensions were beginning to grow between the two but the couple insisted they were very much in love.

Gabby’s last known whereabouts

The last known contact with her family was 24 August when she and her fiancé left a hotel in Utah heading for the Grand Teton National Park. Her last post on Instagram was dated 25 August, however her mother received an "odd text" from her phone on 27 August. The text raised suspicions and was cited in a North Port police warrant to search Laundrie’s computer last week. In the text Petito’s mother said her daughter referred to her grandfather by his first name, something that was out of the usual for her daughter.

Laundrie returned alone to the couple’s home in Florida 1 September, but it wasn’t until 10 days later that Petito was reported missing not by her fiancé but by her parents.