Photos emerge of Petito, Laundrie hiking in Utah shortly before disappearances

Authorities confirmed this week that the body of Brian Laundrie, a person of interest in the death of his girlfriend Gabby Petito, had been found in a nature preserve near his family’s home in Florida.

Just moments before that announcement on Thursday, photographs surfaced of Laundrie and Petito during an outing in Utah earlier this year.

“I remember feeling envious”

As Fox News reported, a photographer encountered the couple in mid-August, a short time before Petito went missing and was subsequently found dead in Wyoming.

Laundrie returned to Florida alone in Petito’s van and subsequently disappeared, sparking a massive manhunt as part of the ongoing investigation into his girlfriend’s homicide.

The photographer and his wife reportedly met Laundrie and Petito while hiking at a national park in Utah on Aug. 10 and decided to take a photo of the young couple.

“They stood out because they had the ‘van life’ look to them, and I remember feeling envious because they seemed like enthusiasts,” he said.

The photographer went on to describe how Laundrie and Petito offered tips regarding how to reach a particular spot on an otherwise inaccessible slope in the area.

“This is tragic for two families”

“I noticed they were getting into their little white van,” the photographer said. “They ended up pulling out moments later and we exchanged a friendly nod as they passed. Truly tragic to know how this all has played out.”

Social media posts from the couple came a few days after that encounter, about the same time as a run-in with Utah police officers who responded to a suspected domestic violence incident. Human remains were found this week in Florida’s Carlton Reserve near personal items believed to belong to Laundrie. The remains were subsequently confirmed to be those of the missing man.

Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolini reacted to the news in an interview with NBC News, lamenting the “suffering” being experienced by the parents of both Laundrie and Petito.

“Now, I understand that whatever happened or whatever didn’t happen … this is tragic for two families,” he added. “And anybody with a child, and anybody with a sense of humanity can understand the frustration that both families feel on that point.”

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