An autopsy was scheduled for Tuesday on the remains found Sunday in a Wyoming park. The Teton County coroner ruled the death a homicide, but the cause of death is pending final results, the tweet said.
The body was found in Grand Teton National Park.
The confirmation officially ends a nearly two-week search for Petito after her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, returned alone from a cross-country trip the two were taking. Laundrie was ruled a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance before he vanished last week.
Petito was last seen in a social media video Aug. 25, and the last text she sent was on Aug. 27, though her family is skeptical whether she, in fact, wrote the text herself.
Tuesday, a Petito family spokesperson said they would make a statement “when Gabby is home.”
Answers in this case have proven elusive thus far, and former FBI agents say they will be difficult to come by unless Laundrie comes forward.
“The reality is, we don’t know that (police) even have spoken to him or even know where he’s at,” former FBI agent Patrick Conley said on “NewsNation Prime” Monday. “It’s unclear as to whether he’s even been to his residence. (It’s) just speculation on all sides on this.”
Investigators have been searching the Carlton Reserve, a 24,000-acre wooded area near Laundrie’s parents’ home. Brian Laundrie and Petito had been living there before their road trip.
Laundrie and Petito interacted with police at least once on that trip. On Aug. 12, someone reported a domestic disturbance involving the couple. Laundrie told police Petito had hit him, but a 911 call from the same day seemed to conflict with that story.
A portion of the call is as follows:
- Caller: “We’re driving by and I’d like to report a domestic dispute.”
- Dispatch: “What were they doing?”
- Caller: “Uh … we drove by and the gentleman was slapping the girl.”
- Dispatch: “He was slapping her?”
- Caller: “Yes, and then we stopped. They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car, and they drove off.”
Officers suggested the couple spend the night apart and did not arrest either Laundrie or Petito.
On Sept. 1, Laundrie returned to his parents’ home without Petito, police said. She was reported missing Sept. 10.
Sept. 19, the day Petito’s body was found, her father, Joseph Petito, tweeted “💔#GABBYPETITO she touched the world.”
The Associated Press and WFLA’s Beth Rousseau contributed to this report.