Searchers found a body in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Sunday that matches the description of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, FBI officials said.
Officials have not yet done a full forensic identification of the body to 100 percent confirm the identity. A cause of death has not yet been determined.
Petito’s family was notified of the discovery.
“I would like to extend sincere and heartfelt condolences to Gabby’s family,” FBI Supervisory Special Agent Charles Jones said. “As any parent can imagine, this is an incredibly difficult time for the family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them.”
The Teton County Coroner’s office was dispatched to recover a body in the national forest in the county, officials said.
The body was found in a remote area, News Nation’s Brian Entin said.
An attorney for Petito’s mother thanked searchers and asked for privacy for the family.
“Your tireless work and determination helped bring Gabby home to her parents,” the statement from the law office of Richard B. Stafford said. “The family and I will be forever grateful.”
The search also continued Sunday for Brian Laundrie. The couple’s trek in the Fort Transit van began in July from Long Island. They intended to reach Oregon by the end of October according to their social media accounts, but Petito vanished after her last known contact with family in late August from Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, authorities said.
An attorney representing his family called Sunday’s news heartbreaking.
“The Laundrie family prays for Gabby and her family,” the attorney said.
The FBI in Denver said Saturday that agents have begun conducting ground surveys at Grand Teton National Park, with help from the National Park Service and local law enforcement agencies, seeking clues to Petito’s disappearance.
FBI agents tweeted that they were focusing on an undeveloped camping area near Spread Creek on the east boundary of the park, which was closed to the public during the surveys. They urged anybody who had been there between Aug. 27 and 30, and had seen Petito, Laundrie or their vehicle, to contact them.
Petito’s family issued an emotional plea for her return on Monday. Her parents described her as artistic, creative, loving, caring and free spirited.
“She was just the type of person that was free,” mom Nichole Schmidt said. “She went and did where the day took her.”
Petito has five siblings, Schmidt said. While the younger ones don’t quite understand what’s going on, it’s been difficult for her older siblings.
“It’s scary and it’s nerve wracking. We don’t eat, we don’t sleep,” Schmidt said. “We’re just actively looking for her.”
Detectives are asking anyone with information on Petito’s disappearance to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls can remain anonymous.