The young American Gabby Petito, who shared on social networks her journey through the western United States with her boyfriend and whose mysterious disappearance shocked the United States, was the victim of a homicidethe FBI said Tuesday.
The initial analysis of the forensic doctor, in charge of examining the body found on Sunday in the state of Wyoming, is that the body is that of Petito, and “the initial determination of the manner of death is homicide,” according to a statement from the FBI.
The federal police, however, have clarified that “the cause of death is still pending the final results of the autopsy.”
Missing since September 11
Authorities launched a massive search for 22-year-old Petito when his family reported him missing on September 11, after taking a road trip with her fiancé.
Petito quit his job and started touring the country in July with his boyfriend Brian Laundrie, 23 years old. His trip seemed idyllic as shown in a series of posts shared on the social network Instagram.
Petito’s parents last contacted her when the couple, who were traveling in a caravan, were in the area of the National Park of Grand Teton, located in Wyoming, south of Yellowstone.
Laundrie has been wanted by the police since last Tuesday, after leaving his parents’ house that same Monday, where the couple also lived. More than two weeks ago, Laundrie came back alone to this house in North Port, Florida, with his girlfriend’s caravan. Laundrie, who was declared a “person of interest” in the case, refused to cooperate with the police before disappearing.
Police, who are searching for the young man in a swampy reservation in Florida, say the operation is being hampered by the presence of snakes and alligators at the site, North Port police, in charge of the investigation with the FBI, announced Tuesday.
On Tuesday night, police and FBI agents had to interrupt a search for Laundrie in the vast alligator-infested reserve, which has about 80 miles (almost 129 kilometers) of hiking trails. Other sections are almost impassable. Despite this pause, a North Port police spokesman insisted they would return there early Wednesday to resume the search.