Investigators focus on cause of Petito death


JACKSON — An autopsy was scheduled Tuesday for the remains found Sunday in a dispersed camping area bordering Grand Teton National Park that match the description of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito — a 5-foot-5-inch, blond-haired, blue-eyed adventure blogger who hadn’t been seen or heard from since late August.

Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue said he expects to know the cause of death and exact identity of the body within two weeks but added that he can’t be sure about that timeline.

In the meantime, FBI agents searched the North Port, Florida, home of Brian Laundrie's family on Monday. In the process, law enforcement officers removed his parents from the home and declared the house a crime scene.

Laundrie’s parents, Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, reentered the house after spending over an hour inside the van, according to Fox News.

Laundrie had been on a cross-country road trip since July with Petito, his childhood sweetheart, but returned to his Florida home without her Sept. 1. Ten days later Petito’s parents reported her missing, according to law enforcement. On Sept. 17, the attorney for Laundrie's family contacted the FBI indicating they wanted to talk about their son's disappearance. Laundrie’s parents told law enforcement they last saw their son Sept. 14.

The search for Laundrie had centered on the 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County, Florida, a nature reserve near his home, but North Port Police announced Monday their geographic focus has shifted, though they didn’t clarify where FBI and police were looking now.

"At this time, we currently believe we have exhausted all avenues in searching the grounds there," North Port Police spokesperson Josh Taylor said.

On Sunday afternoon, FBI agents stood at a podium in Teton Park’s visitor center in Moose to report that human remains consistent with Petito’s description had been found.

“Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100% that we found Gabby, but her family has been notified,” FBI Supervisory Special Agent Charles Jones said at the Sunday press conference. “This is an incredibly difficult time for [Petito’s] family and friends.”

The FBI along with the National Park Service, U.S. Forest Service, Teton County Sheriff’s Office and Jackson Police Department had closed the Spread Creek camping zone to the public Saturday night. It remains closed until further notice.

The area is a popular undeveloped boondocking site, where a hunter and at least two sets of travelers in the area reported sightings between Aug. 27 and Aug. 29 of Petito’s small, white 2012 Ford Transit van with Florida plates.