FRIDAY, October 22
After more than a month of searching, the FBI says Gabby Petito’s fiancé, Brian Laundrie, has been found dead.
The agency confirmed the human remains found on October 20 at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in Florida belonged to Laundrie.
The identification comes one day after FBI agents in Tampa revealed a backpack and notebook belonging to Laundrie, 23, were discovered in the same area as the human remains.
On Wednesday local time, police personnel along with Laundrie’s parents Roberta and Chris, scoured a swampy region of Carlton Reserve which had been covered in water just weeks prior.
During the search, a backpack, notebook, dry bag and “partial remains” were discovered when the water had receded. The items were confirmed by the FBI belonging to Laundrie, however the remains needed to be examined by the coroner.
After the discovery the FBI said portions of the Carlton Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park would remain closed for several days, as an evidence response team worked at the location.
Earlier in the week Laundrie’s lawyer Steven Bertolino made the bombshell revelation that while police had made the grim discovery of the remains and the backpack, it was Laundrie’s father who found the white dry bag also containing certain possessions.
The search for Brian Laundrie had entered its fifth week, after he was reported missing by his parents on September 17.
Mr Laundrie was wanted by the FBI as a “person of interest” in the case of Gabby Petito, who was found dead near a campground in Wyoming.
Ms Petito and Laundrie were on a cross-country road trip together when she allegedly stopped communication with her parents, Nichole Schmidt and Joe Petito in late August.
Mrs Schmidt became concerned, given she had been talking to her daughter via text or on the phone daily since she departed for the road trip in mid-July.
After days of no communication, Mrs Schmidt and Mr Petito reported their 22-year-old daughter missing on September 11. The pair were soon made aware that their daughter’s fiance, Mr Laundrie, had been home in Florida — without Ms Petito — since September 1.
Following an extensive ground, air and water search in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, Ms Petito’s remains were discovered on September 19.
Gabby Petito was found dead in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park Picture: Instagram
Lead coroner in the case of Gabby Petito’s death ruled the cause as strangulation, and the manner a homicide.
Following the discovery of the remains, Mr Bertolino said the Laundrie’s were “heartbroken” at the discovery of the remains.
Mr Bertolino said the findings were discovered “in an area where they had initially advised law enforcement that Brian may be.”
Chris and Roberta Laundrie said Brian, left his family’s North Port, Florida, home on September 13 to hike in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, located alongside the Carlton Reserve. The Laundries’ lawyer had initially identified the date of Brian’s disappearance as being September 14 before changing the timeline weeks later.
Queen Elizabeth II spent a night in hospital this week but has since returned to Windsor Castle, Buckingham Palace says.
“Following medical advice to rest for a few days, the Queen attended hospital on Wednesday afternoon for some preliminary investigations, returning to Windsor Castle at lunchtime today [Thursday], and remains in good spirits,” the palace said in a statement.
A royal source cited by Reuters said the Queen had stayed in hospital for practical reasons and that her medical team had taken a cautious approach.
She returned to her desk for work on Thursday afternoon and was undertaking some light duties, the source said.
The BBC reported that the 95-year-old had been treated at the King Edward VII’s hospital in London.
Her husband Prince Philip was treated in the same hospital before his death in April at the age of 99.
The Queen cancelled a trip to Northern Ireland earlier this week after doctors told her to rest.
The cancellation came after she attended the horse races at Ascot on the weekend and hosted a Global Investment Summit at Windsor Castle on Tuesday evening.
NRL chief executive Andrew Abdo says players will not be mandated to have a COVID-19 vaccine but has warned unvaccinated players would be subject to more stringent protocols.
On the same day the AFL mandated its players to be vaccinated by mid-February, Abdo took a different approach.
The NRL has been grappling with mandatory vaccinations since the resumption of the 2020 season when several high-profile players including Bryce Cartwright, Josh Papalii, and Joseph Tapine expressed reluctance to receive the flu shot.
Despite many businesses and rival codes mandating employees to receive a COVID-19 vaccine, Abdo said the NRL would leave it up to the players.
“Clearly we need to make sure we have continuity to the competition, and we are creating a safe working environment,” he told Channel 7.
“We are busy working on the protocols for the players who are vaccinated and the players that are not vaccinated. Hopefully, we are talking about a very small group of players.
“They will have, I’d imagine, some pretty rigorous requirements around what they will be able to do in order to train and play.
“Of course this might be taken out of our hands by health orders or by airlines, so there will be repercussions for those that don’t choose to be vaccinated, but it’s not our approach as a governing body to mandate it.
“Between now and the end of the off-season we will have a very clear set of guidelines for how the clubs and players can get back to training safely for those who are vaccinated and those who aren’t yet vaccinated.”
Abdo claimed some clubs had close to 90 per cent of players and staff vaccinated with the governing body’s own staff up to 98 per cent.
Victoria has recorded another high day of Covid cases and deaths after a raft of restrictions were eased overnight, including an end Melbourne’s lockdown.
There were 2,189 new local Victorian COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths as the state comes out of lockdown.
There are now 23,230 active cases of the virus in Victoria, and 203 people have died during the current Delta outbreak.
The new cases were detected from 77,036 test results received yesterday.
There were 38,339 doses of vaccine administered at state-run sites, and more vaccinations at GP clinics and other venues.
Deputy Premier James Merlino said the state government had made a pledge to Victorians that statewide, broad-based lockdowns were a thing of the past.
“The promise to the community was if people got vaccinated to the extent that we got to 70 per cent double dosed, then 80 per cent double dosed, well the promise is the lockdown ends,” he said.
“There is no measure, no decision we are taking that is zero risk and what keeps us up all night is trying to get the balance right between ending the lockdown, opening up in a safe way without completely overwhelming our hospital system.”
A round of cheers echoed across parts of Melbourne as the city officially ended its lockdown at midnight last night.
Bars, restaurants, and hairdressers welcomed back customers after months of being closed.
Melbourne’s Lord Mayor Sally Capp said it should be a day of joy as the city emerges from what could its last COVID-related lockdown.
“It’s like we’ve been holding our breath for days and weeks, and now we can really fill our lungs with the joy of being out of lockdown — that’s how I feel,” she said.
*NSW has recorded 345 new cases of COVID-19 and five deaths in the 24 hours until 8pm last night.
There are currently 482 COVID-19 patients being treated in NSW hospitals with 125 of those in intensive care units.
The latest figures show that 92.7 per cent of over 16s have had at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and 83 per cent have had both doses.
A total of 76,594 COVID-19 tests were carried out in the reporting period.
NSW Health has announced that restrictions on people travelling from Victoria to NSW will remain in place until November 1.
After that, vaccinated travellers will no longer need to abide by the 14-day stay at home rule.
However, people who are not vaccinated will not be permitted to enter NSW for a holiday or recreation.
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