Officials say search for Gabby Petito helped ‘bring light’ to case of missing hiker found dead in Wyoming

The search for 22-year-old Gabby Petito — and later, her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, who remains a person of interest in her death — captivated the nation as media outlets dedicated hours of coverage to unpacking the case. But while the news surrounding Petito has been nothing short of tragic, there are signs the case is actually doing some good.

The body of a man who had been missing for more than a month was discovered near the same area where Petito’s body was found, and authorities said it was thanks in large part to the extra attention that the search for Petito brought to the man’s case, Fox News reported Wednesday.

The man has since been identified as 46-year-old Robert “Bob” Lowery from Houston, Texas. According to Fox, he was last seen alive Aug. 20 and was discovered Sept. 28 near the Teton Pass in Wyoming, near where Petito was found in the Grand Teton National Park on Sept. 19.

There doesn’t appear to be any further connection between Lowery and Petito or Laundrie. The Teton County coroner reportedly determined Lowery’s death to be a suicide by a gunshot wound to the head.

“Helped bring light”

If not for the increased awareness regarding missing persons brought about by the media coverage of the Petito case, however, it is quite possible that Lowery’s body may not have ever been found and recovered, according to those who searched for him.

In a statement released by the Teton County Search and Rescue organization, the group said “[t]he widespread news coverage of the Gabby Petito search helped bring light to Lowery’s case, and resulted in at least two members of the public calling local authorities this past weekend with new information about his possible last seen point.”

Once the Search and Rescue team — accompanied by three K-9 search teams and a couple of dozen volunteers — keyed in on the area where the new information indicated, Lowery’s remains were discovered just a few hours later, on a thickly wooded slope some ways off from a hiking trail.

Closure for the family

Lowery’s family is grieving over the tragic loss but grateful that their search for him has finally concluded.

“Bob has been a wonderful father, son, brother, and friend,” the family said in a statement, according to Fox.

“Our family wants to thank the news media and others involved in the search for our privacy at this difficult time,” they added.

Lowery leaves behind a 12-year-old daughter and 15-year-old son, for whom a GoFundMe has been established by Lowery’s sisters.

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