What to Know
- Gabby Petito's body was found exactly a month ago in a remote area of a Wyoming park the couple visited; her death has been ruled a homicide, and the coroner said she died by manual strangulation
- The FBI's prime person of interest in Petito's disappearance, her fiancé Brian Laundrie, has now been missing for more than a month; he vanished nearly a week before Petito's body was discovered
- Laundrie has an outstanding warrant out for him for alleged debit card fraud. His family's attorney has said the parents are cooperating with the FBI and the fraud charge will be addressed when he is located
BREAKING UPDATE: Human Remains Apparently Found Near Backpack at Brian Laundrie Search Site, Source Says; Medical Examiner on Scene
The Florida environmental park where a silver Mustang -- like the one Brian Laundrie allegedly drove to get to a hiking spot the day he vanished -- was abandoned reopened to the public on Tuesday after a nearly month-long closure.
The Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, which borders one of the entrances to the Carlton Reserve, the sprawling 25,000-acre swamp that has been the focal point of investigators' search for Gabby Petito's now long-missing fiancé, had been taped off to assist local and federal law enforcement in their hunt for Laundrie.
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Laundrie, 23, is the only person of interest the FBI has named in Petito's disappearance. He hasn't been seen since mid-September. It wasn't immediately clear if the park reopening meant investigators felt they had exhausted the search area -- as North Port, Florida, police initially said more than a month ago before resuming the effort with the FBI taking the reins -- or had narrowed the search.
North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor told News 4 he suspects "searches will continue when and where needed." He also reiterated the FBI is the lead investigative agency and referred additional -- and future questions -- to the agency.
The FBI hasn't publicly commented on the case since issuing a federal arrest warrant for Laundrie, 23, on a single count of debit card fraud other than to say it cannot speak to developments that are part of an ongoing investigation.
The preserve saw heightened law enforcement activity late last week, as a cadaver dog was requested to assist in the effort. Laundrie's father, Chris, helped the FBI in person for the first time the week prior, identifying trails he said he and his son liked to hike and other spots he said the 23-year-old may have been interested in.
Laundrie look-alikes have been stopped by law enforcement officers aplenty in recent weeks, according to multiple media outlets, but one month to the day Petito's body was discovered in Wyoming, no one seems to know where to find him.
Is Laundrie even alive? Is he in hiding? Is anyone helping him? Those questions have been fodder for Internet sleuths across the globe in recent weeks -- and for people calling law enforcement tiplines in multiple states over reported sightings -- to no avail. The family's attorney, Steve Bertolino, says Laundrie's parents have no idea where he is, didn't help him escape and are cooperating with authorities.
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Petito's parents, in a series of media interviews over the last two weeks, have said Chris and Roberta Laundrie didn't help them when they couldn't get in touch with their daughter in late August and early September. They say they believe the young man's parents know more than anyone else about what happened to him and, perhaps, their daughter -- again statements Bertolino has consistently denied.
The 22-year-old Long Island woman's remains were recovered Sept. 19 in a remote area of a Wyoming national park she and Laundrie had visited during their months-long cross-country road trip. Last week, the county coroner who ruled her death a homicide revealed chilling details from the autopsy results: Petito was strangled by someone's bare hands, and likely died three to four weeks before she was found.
That type of death is one of "the most intimate of homicides that can occur," forensic expert Joseph Scott Morgan told News 4's The Debrief podcast last week.
The coroner who examined Petito's remains, Dr. Brent Blue of Teton County, declined to share additional details on the autopsy results, citing state protocol. The FBI did not comment publicly on those autopsy results or lend any public insight as far as what they might mean for the direction of their investigation.
LISTEN TO THE PODCAST: WHAT GABBY PETITO'S AUTOPSY DETAILS COULD MEAN -- AND WHY 'THE VANISHED' TEAM THINKS THIS CASE STOOD OUT
Investigators have said the debit card Laundrie allegedly used illegally was used during a time period when they believe Petito was already dead, though they have not said whose name is attached to the debit card the fraud charge involves.
Bertolino said last week, after the autopsy details were released, that Petito's death at such a young age was a tragedy and that the fraud allegation against Brian Laudnrie would be addressed when he is located.
Petito's family hopes that will be soon -- and that he will be found alive. They have pleaded multiple times -- in press conferences, on national TV, on talk shows -- that he "do the right thing" and "turn yourself in."
And they ask anyone who knows anything at all to speak up.
The FBI continues to solicit tips by phone and online regarding the potential whereabouts of Laundrie or any other details on the couple.
Relevant information may be submitted to the FBI here or by calling 1-800-CALL-FBI or 303-629-7171. Photos & videos may be uploaded to: http://fbi.gov/petito.