Gabby Petito's father has paid heartbreaking tribute to his daughter after authorities in Wyoming confirmed Sunday that a body was found near Grand Teton National Park matching the description of the missing 22-year-old woman.
The remains were discovered eight days after her family reported her missing. Investigators are conducting more tests to make sure that the body is definitely Petito and to determine the cause of death.
Her father, Joe, shared a picture of his daughter in front of angel's wings on Facebook Sunday after the news broke of a body being found.
“She touched the world,” he wrote.
Petito's younger brother, T.J. Schmidt, also shared a photo of her in front of angel wings.
“I don't even know what to say,” he wrote on Instagram. “I'm at a total loss. My heart is shattered #justiceforgabby.”
Joe Petito had previously expressed worry over never seeing his daughter again in an interview with Andrea Canning of NBC's “Dateline.”
“I don't know if I can deal with not having my baby girl back, not holding her again,” he said.
The remembrances from Petito's family comes as investigators search for her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, 23, who hasn't been seen in nearly a week.
He was named a person of interest in the case by authorities and refused to speak to police, citing the advice of his attorney. His family told police on Sept. 17 that he left to go hiking at a Florida wildlife preserve on Sept. 14 and never returned.
Police brought in drones and police dogs over the weekend to search for Laundrie in the nearly 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve southeast of Sarasota, Florida.
Laundrie's family released a statement Sunday saying “the news about Gabby Petito is heartbreaking” and that they are praying “for Gabby and her family.”
Petito's parents reported her missing on Sept. 11, which was 10 days after Laundrie returned without her to their home in North Port, Florida, from a cross-country road trip. The two were planning to visit Grand Teton National Park late last month, according to Petito's mother.
Laundrie and Petito looked happy and in love as they documented many of their stops during their road trip on YouTube and Instagram using the hashtag #VanLife.
However, on Aug. 12, police in Moab, Utah, responded to a call about an alleged physical altercation between the couple. Body camera footage from an officer shows Petito saying they had been fighting. Laundrie is also seen with scratches on his face.
Police in North Port also confirmed that they interviewed a woman who said in a TikTok video on Aug. 29 that she and her boyfriend picked up a hitchhiker they later realized was Laundrie. She alleged that he offered them $200 for a ride away from Grand Teton National Park but got out of their car abruptly, which has not been confirmed by police.
The FBI has continued to request that anyone who had contact with the couple or their vehicle reach out with any information.Internet Explorer Channel Network