A body found near Grand Teton National Park is "consistent with the description" of missing 22-year-old Gabby Petito, officials said at a press conference Sunday afternoon. The body has not been officially identified, and a cause of death has not been confirmed.
"I would like to extend sincere and heartfelt condolences to Gabby's family," an FBI supervisor said. "As every parent can imagine, this is an incredibly difficult time for the family and friends. Our thoughts and prayers are with them. We ask that you all respect their privacy as they mourn the loss of their daughter."
Officials had been searching near the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area located just outside of Grand Teton National Park since Saturday. The campground will remain closed for the time being.
Police in North Port, Florida, where Petito lived with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, who is considered a person of interest and was also reported missing Friday evening, tweeted their condolences.
"Saddened and heartbroken to learn that Gabby has been found deceased," the department tweeted. "Our focus from the start, along with the FBI, and national partners, has been to bring her home. We will continue to work with the FBI in the search for more answers."
Petito, 22, had been on a cross-country trip with Laundrie when she disappeared. Laundrie returned to Florida on September 1 without Petito.
Petito's last known contact with family was in late August, and she was in Grand Teton National Park at the time, authorities said. Her family filed a missing persons report out of Suffolk County, New York, on September 11.
Laundrie had been named a person of interest in the Petito case, but authorities had not been able to speak with him. Then on Friday, an attorney for Laundrie's family contacted the FBI indicating they wanted to talk about their son's disappearance. They said they had not seen him since Tuesday, police said.
"Be advised that the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie are currently unknown," Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino said Friday.
Authorities began searching for Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve, a 24,000-acre county park in Florida's Sarasota County, on Saturday.
"His family says they believe he entered the area earlier this week. More details when available," the North Port Police tweeted on Saturday morning.
"For six days, the North Port Police Department and the FBI have been pleading with the family to contact investigators regarding Brian's Fiancé Gabby Petito," police said. "Friday is the first time they have spoken with investigators in detail."
"It is important to note that while Brian is a person of interest in Gabby's disappearance, he is not wanted for a crime," police said. "We are not currently working a crime investigation. We are now working a multiple missing person investigations."
The FBI was at the Laundrie residence in North Point on Friday "removing property to assist in locating Brian," the attorney for Laundrie's family said in a statement to CBS News.
Police video released Thursday shows Petito and Laundrie had an emotional fight in Moab, Utah, weeks before she was reported missing.
First published on September 19, 2021 / 5:59 PM
© 2021 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.