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Search suspended for Gabby Petito’s boyfriend in Florida nature reserve

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) – The search was suspended Monday at a Florida nature reserve for a man who police say is a person of interest in the death of his girlfriend Gabriel “Gabby” Petito, whose authorities believe it was discovered in a Wyoming national park the visited couple.

The North Port Police Department said in a press release that the agency “is not currently planning to conduct a major search” for Brian Laundrie, 23, on Monday in the 24,000-acre (9,712-hectare) Carlton Reservation on Monday. ) in Sarasota County, Florida.

The police statement said they “have exhausted all possibilities to search the land there”.

Handout. via Reuters

Gabrielle Petito, 22, was reported missing on September 11 after traveling with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, across the country in a van and never made it home.

It was not immediately clear if investigators were looking elsewhere for Laundrie.

Investigators focused intensely over the weekend on the wildlife area after Laundrie’s parents told police he may have been there last week. The reserve has more than 160 kilometers of trails and numerous campgrounds.

In Wyoming, the FBI announced Sunday that a body found in northern Wyoming is believed to be 22-year-old Petito. The body was found by officers searching campsites on the eastern border of Grand Teton National Park.

The cause of death has not yet been determined, said FBI Special Surveillance Agent Charles Jones. Details of where and how the body was found were not disclosed.

Search suspended for Gabby Petito’s boyfriend in Florida nature reserve

Natalie Behring via Getty Images

A park ranger speaks with a colleague on the road to Spread Creek Campground on Sunday near Moran, Wyoming. The police who searched the area for Petito found a body believed to be that of the missing 22-year-old.

“Full forensic identification has not been done to 100% confirm that we have found Gabby, but her family has been made aware,” Jones said. “It is an incredibly difficult time for (Petito) family and friends.”

Jones and other law enforcement officials declined to answer questions at a Sunday night press conference in Grand Teton announcing the discovery of the body.

Petito’s father, Joseph, posted on social media the image of a broken heart above a photo of his daughter with a message saying: “She touched the world.”

A lawyer who acted as a spokesperson for Petito’s family asked in a statement that the family be given an opportunity to mourn.

Search suspended for Gabby Petito’s boyfriend in Florida nature reserve

via Associated Press

A missing person poster is seen for Petito in Jackson, Wyoming. Petito disappeared on a trip across the country in a converted motorhome with her boyfriend.

Attorney Richard Benson Stafford said the family would make a public statement at a later date, and thanked officials from the FBI, Grand Teton Search and Rescue and other agencies who were involved 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 lands will remain closed until further notice while the investigation continues, Jones said.

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


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