The grieving parents of Gabby Petito have collected their murdered daughter’s remains – six weeks after fugitive fiancé Brian Laundrie dumped her body at a remote campsite in Wyoming.
Gabby Petito’s ashes will finally be returned to her hometown in after her parents had her remains cremated in Wyoming
Faces etched with pain, the family made their way out of the Valley Mortuary in Jackson, Wyoming, on Saturday morning clutching an urn containing the ashes of the 22-year-old van life blogger – the final stop on a whirlwind trip that included visits to the last places Petito went to before she was murdered, and a meeting with detectives working on the case.
Mom Nichole appeared visibly upset as they left the funeral home, while black-clad father Joe held the white box containing Petito’s body to his chest.
The remains of blonde Petito will now be taken home to Long Island, New York, for burial.
Earlier this week, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue announced the results of Petito’s autopsy – she had been manually strangled before being dumped close to a remote campsite in Grand Teton National Park.
Petito’s father Joe and his wife Tara and her mother Nichole and husband Jim have been in Jackson since Wednesday afternoon and spent Thursday morning at the campsite where she was found.
They were escorted to the Spread Creek campsite, which is 27 miles out of town, by officers from the Teton County Sheriff.
Gabby’s father Joseph Petito clutches the ashes of his murdered daughter, whose remains were found at a nearby campsite on September 19
Gabby’s family retrieved the white boxes containing her ashes from th the ashes from Valley Mortuary in Jackson, Wyoming today
Nicole Schmidt, Gabby’s mother, seen in Jackson along with and her husband, Jim Schmidt, who flew from New York to Wyoming on Wednesday afternoon
Nicole and her husband, Jim Schmidt, flew from New York together. The couple were joined by Gabby’s dad, Joseph Petito and his wife, Tara Petito and walked to breakfast before visiting Spread Creek Campsite where Gabby’s body was discovered on September 19th
Nicole and her husband and the family were at Teton County Sheriff’s office on Thursday evening after a three-hour-meeting with local authorities
The remote site where the blogger’s body was discovered on September 19 has become a shrine to Petito, complete with a stone cross dotted with flowers.
Afterwards, the family spent the afternoon at the Sheriff’s office being briefed by detectives working on the case.
The family collected Gabby’s ashes from the Valley Mortuary in Jackson
On Friday, they met with rescuers from the Teton County Search and Rescue team which took part in the hunt for Petito’s body and visited Jenny Lake where her van was seen parked up shortly before she vanished.
Dad Joe posted a photo of the lake on his social media with the caption: ‘I now know why you came here. #GabbyPetito has a beautiful view from now on. Love you and miss you.’
Stepmom Tara tweeted a photo of herself with Nichole at the glacier lake and wrote: ‘Two moms out at Jenny Lake, taking in the beauty of i
Laundrie has been named a person of interest in Petito’s death and currently has a warrant out for his arrest on bank fraud charges, after using the 22-year-old’s debit card to withdraw $1,000 from her account after her death.
On Saturday morning, armed police were seen searching a reserve close to Laundrie’s family home in North Port, Florida.
Nicole Schmidt is seen arriving in Jackson, Wyoming, to collect her daughter’s remains on Wednesday
Nichole and Jim Schmidt were seen arriving in Wyoming Wednesday afternoon, a day after the medical examiner released the findings in Gabby’s autopsy
A memorial of stones arranged in a cross pattern at the Spread Creek Dispersed Campsite east of the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on September 20 – where Petito’s body was found one day earlier
Brian Laundrie, 23, is still the only named person of interest in Gabby’s death, which was ruled a homicide by strangulation.
Laundrie himself vanished on September 17, almost three weeks after returning home to Florida from the couple’s trip without her.
He is also wanted by federal agents for ‘use of unauthorized access devices’ after allegedly using a debit card that was not his between August 30 and September 1 after Gabby’s death.
Gabby had been on a cross-country trip with Laundrie, visiting Colorado, Utah and other states after setting off from New York in early July. She was reported missing by her parents on September 11 after she did not respond to calls and texts for several days while the couple visited national parks in the West.
Her body was found eight days later on September 19 in a campsite close to the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming – 22 days after the last reported sighting of her alive.
Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue had previously classified her death as a homicide – meaning her death was caused by another person – but had not disclosed how she was killed pending further autopsy results.
On Tuesday Blue confirmed Gabby’s cause of death was ‘manual strangulation’ but could not release any more information due to Wyoming law.
He said little more about her physical condition – including whether she may have been strangled directly by somebody’s hands, a rope or some other item – but noted when asked that she wasn’t pregnant.
It is believed the parents will also be meeting with law enforcement and investigators to be briefed on the ongoing investigation
Nichole and Jim Schmidt are seen walking out with their luggage after landing in Jackson on Wednesday
Jim and Nichole stop to look at Elk grazing with their attorney Richard Stafford
The family was not immediately able to collect Gabby’s remains after she found due to the ongoing investigation
He refused to provide additional details about the autopsy’s findings including: if her body was buried, whether any drugs were found in her system and whether she was killed in the same spot her body was found.
The three to four weeks her body was believed to be in the wilderness, however, put her death around the August 27-30 period investigators believe Petito and Laundrie had traveled to the area.
Blue added that DNA samples had been taken by law enforcement as the investigation into her murder and who was responsible continues.
Authorities have not named a suspect in her murder but it is possible they may already have named one behind closed doors, a former FBI agent told WPBF 25.
‘That piece of information, I would bet, has gone into grand jury – there is now a sealed indictment for the apprehension for the person who is responsible for the death of Gabby Petito,’ former FBI agent Stuart Kaplan said.
Petito and Laundrie are seen on July 4 in Utah. They had set out two days previously on a road trip, planning to document their journey on social media
Brian Laundrie, who is considered a person of interest in her Gabby’s disappearance and death, remains at large after being reported missing on September 17
Petito was reported missing on September 11 and her body was found on September 19
‘This can of course include him [Brian Laundrie] as being the attacker or responsible person for causing Gabby Petito’s death or it could exclude him.’
He believes it is unlikely the suspect’s name will be released until after an arrest is made.
State Attorney Dave Aronberg said Laundrie’s DNA might not appear on the samples found on Petito’s body due to the time her body spent exposed to the elements, but other evidence like cell phone records could still be used against him, according to WPFB’s Carbonare.
Gabby’s disappearance and subsequent murder has generated a frenzy since she was first reported missing after her fiance lawyered up and refused to cooperate with investigators before going on the run.
The case has drawn the attention of TV personalities like Duane Chapman – known as Dog the Bounty Hunter – and longtime ‘America’s Most Wanted’ host John Walsh who are now also working to track him down.
Laundrie’s family, however, have been refusing to answer questions and are still citing the Carlton Reserve as the last place Brian was seen.
The Laundrie family lawyer, Anthony Bertolino, gave a statement attempting to express sympathy to Gabby’s family Thursday after her cause of death was revealed.
‘Gabby Petito’s death at such a young age is a tragedy,’ he wrote.
‘While Brian Laundrie is currently charged with the unauthorized use of a debit card belonging to Gabby, Brian is only considered a person of interest in relation to Gabby Petito’s demise,’ Bertolino wrote. ‘At this time Brian is still missing and when he is located we will address the pending fraud charge against him.’
Petito’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, texted a reported a curt, blunt response.
‘His words are garbage. Keep talking,’ she texted a reporter from WFLA in Tampa Bay.
Brian Laundrie’s father also refused to answer questions as he mowed his lawn around a makeshift memorial for his fugitive son’s late fiancée Wednesday morning.
In a video posted to Twitter the morning after the coroner’s announcement, Chris Laundrie, 62, was recorded with a grass cutter trimming blades close to the memorial for Petito set up in his front lawn while being questioned by a reporter.
During Wednesday’s gardening task, Chris Laundrie avoided caution tape, bouquets of flowers and photos of 22-year-old Petito while ignoring questions asked by a man off camera.
‘Is there anything you want to say?’ he asked. Chris didn’t reply.
Joe Petito, (left) spoke at his daughter’s memorial service standing next to Schmidt (right) surrounded by photos of Petito throughout her life
A long line of people was seen outside the Long Island funeral home to pay their respects to Petito, whose story captivated the nation
The press conference marked the bereaved mother’s first public statements since her daughter’s body was found. Each family member wore a blue ribbon in memory of Gabby
Gabby Petito’s family on Tuesday revealed they got new tattoos in her honor, including one she had on her forearm saying ‘Let it be’
‘Is there anything you want people to know? You and Roberta haven’t said anything,’ he added, which Chris also completely ignored.
Supposed protesters were also at the Laundrie residence in North Port last night attempting to confront Chris and his wife Roberta as they banged on the door and demanded that the couple ‘speak up soon.’
The clip of Chris Laundrie emerged as Petito’s grieving parents made their way to Wyoming to recover her remains, three weeks after her body was found near Grand Teton National Park.
The Teton County coroner announced just yesterday that she died of manual strangulation. Petito’s parents are expecting to return home to Long Island, New York, this weekend with her ashes, according to Fox.
Hours after Petito’s cause of death was announced, a man was filmed outside their Florida home shouting: ‘Come on dirty Laundries. Come on, you guys like to strangle people.
‘You and your little b**** a** son. It’s time to wake up and face the consequences.’
The Laundries haven’t been accused or charged with any crime.
Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito. He has been on the run for more than three weeks following their doomed campervan trip
Authorities have been searching the 25,000-acre Carlton Reserve in Sarasota, Florida, and have deployed the canine unit and police divers in the hunt for Brian Laundrie
Cops in ATVs were seen heading into the 25,000 acre Carlton Reserve in Florida to search for Laundrie last month
After the protesters left Chris stepped into view of nearby camera lenses twice, including on one occasion when he appeared to lock the door, Fox reported.
Police arrived at the home minutes later after a car passed the house honking its horn for several seconds.
Laundrie has been on the run for exactly one month. His parents allege he was last seen on September 13.
On September 1 he returned home early from the cross-country road trip he was on with Petito in the white camper van.
Last week Chris joined FBI agents in the search for his son at in the vast 24,565-acre Carlton Reserve where there a supposed ‘fresh campsite’ was found.
But the discovery was denied by investigators and the joint search proved fruitless.
Gabby Petito, 22, is pictured with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, 23, in a YouTube video made to document their ‘van life’ trip
The video shows a cop pointing out ‘new’ marks on Petito’s face and arm and asking if Laundrie had hit her, to which she replies: ‘I guess’
The young couple were stopped by police in Moab, Utah, back on August 12 after a witness reported seeing a man slapping a woman. Bodycam footage showed Gabby Petito telling cops Brian Laundrie had hit her
The Laundrie family did not join the FBI in the manhunt in any of their searches after the search with the fugitive’s father came up short on October 7.
North Port Police in Florida revealed the next day that the sole person of interest in Petito’s homicide had been placed under surveillance in the days before he went on the run.
Police spokesperson Josh Taylor told CNN Laundrie was being closely watched by authorities to the best of their abilities, at a time when Petito was still classed as missing and not dead and when a warrant had not yet been issued for Laundrie’s arrest.
Taylor provided no further details about the extent of this surveillance or how Laundrie was then able to slip through the net.
It is not clear if investigators ever had proof of his presence at the Laundrie family home in North Port, from when Petito was reported missing on September 11 to when his family revealed Laundrie had vanished on September 17.
Investigators have confirmed they never spoke to, or saw, Laundrie that day as his family lawyered-up and denied police entry to their home to speak with him. Instead, the timeline of his disappearance appears to largely rest on accounts given by Laundrie’s parents Christopher and Roberta – accounts that have changed this week.