A missing hiker found dead in Wyoming near where authorities discovered the remains of Long Island native Gabby Petito died by suicide, officials said.
The Teton County Coroner’s Office in Wyoming said Robert Lowery, a father of two from Houston, died by suicide from a gunshot wound to the head, Fox News reported Wednesday.
Teton County sheriff officials announced last week that a search and rescue team found a body matching Lowery’s description on Sept. 28 near the Black Canyon Trail in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, where Petito’s remains were found on Sept. 19.
“The 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,” officials said in a statement.
The new information indicated Lowery had been on the Black Canyon Trail while wearing a black baseball cap and a Nike duffel bag. A dog team then found Lowery’s body off the trail on a steep, wooded slope after 25 volunteers hiked more than 75 miles during the search.
Lowery is survived by two children, a 12-year-old daughter and a 15-year-old son, and their mother, according to an online fundraiser set up in his memory.
“Bob had been missing since August 20th in the greater Jackson Hole area,” the website reads. “The children will have the unconditional love and support our full extended family; however, in the wake their father’s unexpected death, we want to ensure that they are best set up for their future.”
More than $40,000 had been donated as of Wednesday.
Lowery’s sister, meanwhile, thanked the Teton County Sheriff’s Office for their efforts in a Facebook post last week.
“Bob has been a wonderful father, son, brother and friend,” the post read. “Our family wants to thank the news media and others involved in the search for our privacy at this difficult time.”
Petito, 22, went missing on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, and was last spotted at a Wyoming restaurant on Aug. 27 while Laundrie, 23, returned home alone on Sept. 1.
Laundrie is being sought by the FBI on an arrest warrant for allegedly using Petito’s bank card three days after the Long Island native was last seen alive, her family’s attorney said Tuesday.
Petito’s death has been ruled a homicide, but medical examiners in Wyoming have not disclosed how she died as Laundrie continues to evade arrest. He’s the only person of interest in her disappearance and death.
If you are experiencing suicidal thoughts, you can get help 24/7 from the National Suicide Hotline, 800-273-8255.