gabby petito

FBI Descends on Gabby Petito Boyfriend's House as Search for Him Continues

Boyfriend Brian Laundrie, 23, has been identified as a person of interest in the case. He was last seen Sept. 14 by family members in Florida

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Authorities say a body discovered in northern Wyoming is believed to be that of a 22-year-old Long Island woman who disappeared while on a cross-country trek - and the FBI descended on her missing partner's home Monday.

A large contingent of agents with equipment descended on Brian Laundrie's North Port home Monday morning. That came just hours after local police said they would not keep searching for him in a nearby nature reserve, as they had been all weekend long.

FBI agents were seen removing boxes of evidence from the home, before the search concluded around 6 p.m., the FBI said in a tweet, adding that "no further details" would be shared due to it be an ongoing investigation. The Laundrie family attorney had scheduled a press conference for Tuesday, but canceled it "as per my conversation with the FBI this evening."

There were reports circulating online that Laundrie had been seen by store employees in Mobile, Alabama, but the Mobile Police Department shot down those claims, saying "There is not sighting of Brian Laundrie that MPD is investigating. That is inaccurate information told by the store employees."

The Laundrie family attorney confirmed to NBC News that Brian Laundrie left the home on Sept. 14, the last day that his parents saw him. He left that morning with a backpack to go on a hike at the nearly 25,000-acre preserve.

The next day, his family went to the preserve to look for him after he didn't return, and found a note on the car from the North Port Police Department saying it needed to be removed, the attorney said. The family left the car overnight "so (Laundrie) could drive back," the attorney said, but when he didn't come back two days after he left the house, the family went back to get the car.

The Mustang that was driven was towed away from the home on Monday.

Law enforcement agencies continue to search for Laundrie, police said. Authorities have continued to stress that he is not a suspect, merely a person of interest, and that they are pursuing a missing persons investigation in his case.

The developments early Monday follow the FBI's news a day earlier that a body believed to be Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito was found by law enforcement agents who spent the weekend searching campsites on the eastern border of Grand Teton National Park.

The cause of death has not yet been determined, said FBI Supervisory Special Agent Charles Jones. Specifics on where and how the body was found were not disclosed. An autopsy won't be conducted until Tuesday, officials said.

“Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100% that we found Gabby, but her family has been notified,” Jones said. “This is an incredibly difficult time for (Petito’s) family and friends.”

Jones and other law enforcement officials declined to take questions during a Sunday evening press conference in Grand Teton announcing the body's discovery.

Petito's father, Joseph, posted on social media an image of a broken heart above a picture of his daughter with a message that said, “she touched the world."

NBC New York's Ida Siegal reports.

An attorney who has been acting as a spokesman for Petito’s family asked in a statement that the family be given room to grieve.

Attorney Richard Benson Stafford indicated that the family would make a public statement at a later date, and he thanked officials with the FBI, Grand Teton Search and Rescue and other agencies that participated in the search for Petito.

“The family and I will be forever grateful,” Stafford said in a statement.

An undeveloped camping area on the east side of Grand Teton bordering national forest land will remain closed until further notice while the investigation continues, Jones said.

Jones said investigators were still seeking information from anyone who may have seen Petito or Laundrie around camping sites in the area of Spread Creek, where law enforcement search efforts focused over the weekend.

The pair left in July on a cross-country trek in a converted van to visit national parks in the U.S. West. Laundrie was alone when he drove the van back to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida, on Sept. 1, police said.

Police in North Port, Florida said in a statement that they were heartbroken to learn of the discovery of the body and pledged to continuing searching for answers in the case.

Petito’s family filed a missing persons report Sept. 11 with police in Suffolk County, New York.

Petito’s family had been pleading for the Laundrie family to tell them where their son last saw her. Petito and Laundrie were childhood sweethearts who met while growing up on Long Island, New York. His parents later moved to North Port, about 35 miles south of Sarasota.

As Gabby Petito's fiancé Brian Laundrie continues to remain quiet on the young woman's mysterious disappearance, his sister revealed in an interview that she hasn't spoken to her brother since he returned to his Florida home from his and Petito's cross-country "van life" trip without Petito. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.

The couple’s trek in the Ford Transit 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.

Police video released by the Moab Police Department in Utah showed that an officer pulled the van over on Aug. 12 after it was seen speeding and hitting a curb near the entrance to Arches National Park. The body cam video showed an emotional Petito, who sat inside a police cruiser while officers also questioned Laundrie.

Moab police ultimately decided not to file any charges and instead separated the couple for the night, with Laundrie checking into a motel and Petito remaining with the converted sleeper van.

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