Authorities found a body Sunday that matches descriptions of missing hiker Gabby Petito at a national forest in Wyoming.
The FBI said at a press conference that the body in Bridger-Teton National Forest was “consistent with the description” of the 22-year-old woman who had been missing for almost a month and the search for whom has gripped the nation for a week.
FBI Supervisory Special Agent Charles Jones began the press conference by offering “sincere condolences” to the Petito family and asking that the press “respect their privacy as they mourn the loss of their daughter.”
The agent cautioned that the “full forensic identification,” a process that can take a day or more, was “not 100%.” But legal and forensic analysts on Fox News Channel noted that if the body were someone else, it would be very easy to rule out Ms. Petito very quickly, in part because of some distinctive tattoos that do not degrade as quickly as the human body does.
Mr. Jones said that “her family has been notified of this discovery.”
“The cause of death has not been determined at this time. We appreciate your continued support and patience as we work through this process,” the agent said, adding that the area is being treated as a crime scene “until further notice.”
Fiance Brian Laundrie, whom police have declared a person of interest in the case, hasn’t been seen by his parents since Tuesday and is believed to be in hiding.
Local authorities searching for him focused on Carlton Reserve near Venice, Florida, but this was called off Sunday afternoon because of weather difficulties.
The North Port Police Department in Florida, which led that search, tweeted Sunday evening that it was “saddened and heartbroken to learn that Gabby has been found deceased.”
Ms. Petito was reported missing by her family last weekend, two weeks since they had last heard from her on Aug. 25.
Ms. Petito and the 23-year-old Mr. Laundrie took a cross-country road trip through Western states and documented their travels online, until the updates stopped by police shortly after the pair were stopped over a domestic quarrel.