Missing Hiker Found Dead After Petito Search Shot Himself

Bob Lowery had been missing since Aug. 20
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 29, 2021 1:31 PM CDT
Updated Oct 7, 2021 2:32 AM CDT
Gabby Petito Search Helped Close Another Case
A rainbow appears over Spread Creek camping area where a body believed to be Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito was found Sunday, Sept. 19, 2021.   (Meg Potter/Jackson Hole News & Guide via AP)

Update: A cause of death has been determined for the Texas father found dead in Wyoming after the search for Gabby Petito brought fresh attention to the missing persons case. Robert "Bob" Lowery, 46, committed suicide via a gunshot wound to the head, NBC News and Yahoo News report. Lowery's sister says he had recently resigned from his real estate job and was doing some camping before starting a new job, but that his family got nervous when he stopped contacting his 12- and 15-year-old children. Our original story from Sept. 29, 2021, follows:

The widespread attention paid to the Gabby Petito case has helped bring closure to another family with a missing loved one. The body of Bob Lowery, a 46-year-old Houston man who hadn't been seen since August 20, was found Tuesday in a forested area of Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming, around 17 miles from where Petito's remains were found, the New York Times reports. The Teton County Sheriff's Office says it had been investigating the disappearance of the father of two, but it didn't deploy search teams until this week because it hadn't received any solid tips on his possible whereabouts, the Jackson Hole News & Guide reports.

The Sheriff's Office said in a release that 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." His sister, Leigh Lowery, said the sightings of Lowery occurred on the popular Black Canyon trail. "The good news about [the Petito case] has been Bob got pulled into a bunch of articles, so it actually drew a bunch of attention from people," she says. Lowery was last seen carrying a black duffel bag containing his sleeping bag and tent, CNN reports. Searchers found his body "significantly off trail on a steep, wooded slope," officials say. No cause of death has been disclosed.

Petito's father says other missing person cases should get just as much attention as his daughter's case did. "I want to ask people to help all of the people that are missing and need help," Joe Petito said during a news conference Tuesday, per ABC. "It's on all of you, everyone in this room, to do that and if you don't do that for other people who are missing, that's a shame because it's not just Gabby that deserves that." The Times reports that authorities in Wyoming are still searching for Cian McLaughlin, a 27-year-old man from Ireland who was last seen on a hiking trail in Grand Teton National Park on June 8. (Petito's parents and stepparents are starting a foundation to help find other missing people.)

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