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Family of missing young woman say they believe this is her vehicle
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A couple on a road trip across America have posted video they say shows the white Ford Transit van used by Gabby Petito and her boyfriend parked at the campsite currently being searched by the FBI.
In a development that could help both tighten the timeline and narrow the locations for investigators searching for Ms Petito and her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, a couple uploaded the video showing the white vehicle, saying they had driven passed it on the evening of August 27.
It was parked on the side of the so-called dispersed campsite at Spread Creek Road, about 20 miles north of Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Ms Petito’s family is believed to have said this was the vehicle, and wrote on Facebook that the FBI has the information.
This was the campsite being searched on Saturday by dozens of agents from the FBI, the National Park Service and other agencies.
The video was posted by Jenn and Kyle Bethune, who transformed a 1983 sliver eagle bus to hit the road, and post video updates at their page Red White & Bethune, which is subtitled “Showing America through our Lens”.
“This is at the Spread Creek dispersed camping area. We got there and there was a huge gravel lot and we decided we wanted to try to drive more toward the back because we’d heard the views were better back here. So we were heading back on this long dirt, gravel road,” Mr Bethune said, narrating the video he posted on Saturday night.
His wife continued: “And we came across a white van that had Florida plates, a small white van. We were going to stop and say hi because we’re from Florida too, but the van was completely dark there was nobody there so we decided to continue on our way.”
Mr Bethune said the van appeared “abandoned”.
Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito
“We figured maybe they were out hiking or they were just chilling inside there was no doors open, you know. You know, a Florida plate, on the other side of the country, is not something we see all the time.”
While the outside of the van looks identical to Ms Petito’s camper, which was also captured on police body cam footage, one of the details inside the van also appear to match the transit the couple were travelling in – a tan-coloured straw hat sitting on the dashboard. An identical hat could also be spotted on the dashboard of the couple’s van when it was pulled over by police on 12 August.
Although the licence plate is not visible on the YouTube footage, the similarity between the vehicles has prompted speculation, and the couple who shared the video hope the FBI will look into it.
The couple, who are from Tampa and have three children, and son who died several years ago, said they only realised they may have spotted the van, over going back over some footage and giving it a fresh pair of eyes.
Mr Bethune said: “Kind of freaky for a late Saturday evening, but we just kind of had a brain fart ‘Oh my god there’s the van’ so if anybody can help I know the FBI is looking for all the help they can get onto the case.”
Grand Teton National Park is vast
Ms Bethune added: “We wanted to include this in the video just in any way that we can help and get this out there to be able to find Gabby Petito. So if you could share it if you know anything, please don’t hesitate.”
Courtney Bernal, a spokesperson for the FBI’s Denver office, told The Independent in an email it was not granting interviews to the media, that it had “no further comment” on the case, but that updates would be posted on social media.
However, on the main Facebook page set up to help find Ms Petito and run with the input of the family, an administrator wrote: “We have this video, so does the FBI – we believe this is the van for multiple reasons. Please do not clog up the tip line with the same video. This is in the hands of the right people. Thank you so much, this is exactly why we are asking people to review older photos and video.”
Meanwhile, in Florida, North Port Police are continuing to search for Mr Laundrie, who they have said is a person of interest and has not been seen since Tuesday, according to this family. Police stress they have no evidence of a crime having been committed at this point.
Couple say they passed this van on Aug 27 at campsite now being searched by FBI
YouTube/Red White & Bethune
Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito
North Port Police handout
Grand Teton National Park is vast
AFP via Getty Images
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