New twist in the case of the killed Gabby Petito: Investigators have apparently discovered human remains in the search for the friend of the 22-year-old. FBI investigator Michael McPherson said something was found on Wednesday in a nature reserve in Florida, USA. For weeks the police have been looking for the 23-year-old, who is considered a “person of interest” by investigators in the Petito case. According to McPherson, the police also found the young man’s laptop and backpack. All of these things were in an area that until recently was under water.
The 22-year-old Gabby Petito had not returned from a trip through the United States with her boyfriend in the summer. The case is attracting attention both in the US and internationally – not least because the Florida couple shared numerous pictures and videos from their trip on social networks. After an intensive search, Petito’s body was finally found in September in the state of Wyoming. Petito had traveled there as part of her USA road trip. According to the coroner, the young woman was strangled.
Petito’s friend had returned from a trip with the 22-year-old in September alone. A short time later, his parents reported him missing. The police have been looking for the man ever since. The authorities issued an arrest warrant against him for bank fraud in late September. “I know you have a lot of questions, but we don’t have an answer to everything,” said investigator McPherson. “The task force is on site and using all available forensic resources to investigate the area.” That will probably take several days.
Criticism of the scope of the reporting
US media reported that the 23-year-old’s parents had previously met with investigators at Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park to find their son. After a short search off a path that Petito’s friend often walked, some objects were initially found, citing the family’s lawyer. The area was then thoroughly searched with sniffer dogs. The park is near the town of North Port, which has hiking trails and a camping area. The park is connected to the Carlton Reserve, a huge nature reserve that was the primary search area for investigators.
The couple posted pictures and videos from their converted van during their trip. The two always looked happy after that. However, the image taken by a police officer’s body camera left a completely different impression than these images. Police were called to the couple’s vehicle in mid-August about a possible domestic violence case. Media reported that a caller reported to the police that a man had hit a woman. On the video itself you can see a dissolved and crying Petito. She claims to have slapped her boyfriend.
In the past few weeks, there has been repeated criticism of the scope and intensity of the coverage of the missing Petito in the US media and social networks. There was talk of the so-called missing white woman syndrome. This denotes the excessive reporting of missing young white women. In the wake of the criticism, some media had started to report at least briefly on other missing persons cases. According to information from the authorities, around 90,000 missing person reports nationwide were considered active at the end of last year. Hardly any of these cases received nearly as much attention as Petito’s.