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Human Remains Believed to Belong to Woman Missing in Van Mystery Are Found

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Human Remains Believed to Belong to Woman Missing in Van Mystery Are Found


Human remains believed to belong to a Florida woman reported missing after her fiancé returned home from a monthslong van trip without her were found in a national forest in Wyoming on Sunday, the F.B.I. said at a news conference.

“Earlier today, human remains were discovered, consistent with a description of Gabrielle (Gabby) Petito,” said Charles Jones, an F.BI. agent, adding that a full forensic identification had not been completed to confirm the remains were those of Ms. Petito, 22.

The remains were found in the area of the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area, located in the Bridger-Teton National Forest on the east boundary of Grand Teton National Park, Mr. Jones said, adding that the campsite will remain closed.

A cause of death had not been determined, Mr. Jones said.

The discovery of the remains believed to be that of Ms. Petito appeared to end one search for a missing person as another continued for her missing fiancé, Brian Laundrie, 23, after his parents told the police they had not seen him in days.

Mr. Laundrie, whom the police have called a “person of interest,” had through a lawyer declined to speak with investigators, the police said. When his parents told the police that he, too, was missing, a search for him began that included scouring a vast Florida wildlife refuge.

As the police, F.B.I. agents and National Park rangers searched for Ms. Petito in Wyoming, the woman’s last known whereabouts, according to her family, the authorities in Florida searched for Mr. Laundrie in the refuge, a 24,565-acre park in Sarasota County called the Carlton Reserve. On Sunday afternoon, the police in North Port, Fla., said their search at the Carlton Reserve had ended with nothing new to report.

The North Port Police Department said they were “saddened and heartbroken to learn that Gabby has been found deceased.”

“We will continue to work with the F.B.I. in the search for more answers,” they said.

Ms. Petito left with Mr. Laundrie in July in a white Ford van outfitted for a cross-country adventure. On Sept. 1, Mr. Laundrie returned to the home in North Port, Fla., where he lived with his parents and Ms. Petito, in the white van that the couple had used for the trip and that had been registered to Ms. Petito.

Ten days later, Ms. Petito was reported missing by her parents on Sept. 11, according to the police.

In the days after Ms. Petito was reported missing, the authorities expressed “frustration” in their efforts to speak to Mr. Laundrie, who has not been declared a suspect in the case.

The case has drawn widespread attention, as reporters have gathered outside Mr. Laundrie’s house and some in the public have scoured the couple’s Instagram accounts, which depicted a seemingly carefree, nomadic “van life” in the American West.

Ms. Petito and Mr. Laundrie left New York on July 2 for what was supposed to be a four-month, cross-country trip visiting national parks, said Ms. Petito’s stepfather, Jim Schmidt. The couple posted photos and cheerful updates on Instagram and YouTube, and outfitted the van with a bed, tiny bookcases and plants and art.

But something apparently went wrong in Moab, Utah, Ms. Petito’s family said.

On Aug. 12, police officers there responded to a report of a “domestic problem” after Mr. Laundrie had “some sort of argument” with Ms. Petito and told her to take a walk and calm down, according to a police report.

Mr. Laundrie and Ms. Petito both told the officers that they were in love and engaged to be married and “desperately didn’t wish to see anyone charged with a crime,” the report said.

Mr. Laundrie told one officer that “issues between the two had been building over the last few days,” it said.

During the encounter with the police, Ms. Petito cried and said she suffered from anxiety, according to body camera footage of the episode. In the police report, Ms. Petito is recorded saying she moved to slap Mr. Laundrie because she feared that he “was going to leave her in Moab without a ride.”

Both told the police that the episode should be classified as a “mental/emotional health ‘break,’” rather than as a domestic assault.

In the report, the police described Mr. Laundrie as the victim of the incident. They arranged for him to stay in a hotel that night while Ms. Petito kept the van. No charges were filed, the report states.

In social media posts published before and after Aug. 12, the couple documented their trip, including with many photos of Ms. Petito posing against backdrops of nature. The YouTube video showed the couple kissing, scaling rocks and laughing at how the Utah sun had melted the chocolate in Mr. Laundrie’s granola.

“I love the van,” Ms. Petito said, smiling at Mr. Laundrie.

Ms. Petito, the oldest of six siblings, had worked as a pharmacy technician to save money for the trip. She met Mr. Laundrie at Bayport-Blue Point High School on Long Island, Mr. Schmidt said. They began dating after graduation and moved two years ago to Florida, he said.

In their posts from 2020, the couple expressed excitement about their future.

Alan Yuhas contributed reporting.



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Syria Accuses Israel of Assassinating Official Near Golan Heights

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Syria Accuses Israel of Assassinating Official Near Golan Heights


The Syrian government on Saturday accused Israel of assassinating a high-ranking Syrian official who spent 12 years in an Israeli prison on terrorism charges before serving decades in the Syrian government.

The official, Midhat Saleh, who was responsible for overseeing the strategic Golan Heights boundary, was shot and killed by an apparent sniper while inside Syria near the shared border between the two countries.

In a statement announcing his death, Syria’s Presidency of the Council of Ministers said Mr. Saleh was “targeted by the Israeli enemy with bursts of treacherous bullets while returning to his home.”

Mr. Saleh, a member of the Druse religious minority, served 12 years in an Israeli prison on charges of using mines and explosives with the intention of killing Israeli civilians and soldiers

Credit…Syrian Arab News Agency

In 1997, after his release, he went to Syria, where he was elected to Parliament.

A senior Israeli defense official, who would not address Israel’s involvement in any killing, said Mr. Saleh was working with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to establish the military infrastructure along the border necessary for an attack against Israel.

Israel has been operating aggressively against Iran in Syria soon after the country’s civil began and has attacked Iranian or Iranian-related targets in the country hundreds of times, if not more, as well as carried out a series of assassinations. The fighting between Israel and Iran inside Syria effectively constitutes a shadow war, as regional powers test their opponents’ abilities amid the carnage of the Syrian civil war.

Israel has long maintained that Iran represents a threat to its existence and has targeted the Islamic Republic’s agents both outside and inside Iran, stymying its nuclear weapons program and killing its top scientists and operatives.

The Israelis are sensitive to Iran’s presence in Syria. The assassination was the fourth attack this week against Iranian forces in Syria attributed to Israel.

Mr. Saleh, 54, was killed in Ein al-Tina, Syria, according to SANA, the Syrian state news agency. The town is directly across the border from Majdal Shams, Israel, the Druse village in which he was born.

The year of his birth, 1967, coincided with Israel’s defeat of a coalition of Arab countries and the occupation of the Golan Heights, a strategic plateau that spans the border.

He was arrested by Israeli intelligence agents in 1985, along with other Druse from the occupied Golan villages, and convicted of terrorism.

“I’m not saying we will kill the Jews or drive them away,” he said in a 2007 interview with The Guardian. “I just want to live on my land.”

After representing the Golan in Syria’s Parliament, he was appointed head of the country’s Golan Office and an adviser to President Bashar al-Assad.

Mr. Saleh was praised by officials in Mr. Assad’s government, a regime that has brutalized its own people, including gas attacks, for much of the past decade.

Hussein Arnous, Syria’s prime minister, described Mr. Saleh’s assassination as a cowardly act. Hussam Edin Aala, the country’s United Nations representative, called him “a man who devoted his life to defending the rights of his people in the occupied Syrian Golan.”



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Penn Badgley Flexes New Dance Moves

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Penn Badgley Flexes New Dance Moves


“It feels good,” the actor Penn Badgley said on a recent Friday morning, in an echoing studio at the Mark Morris Dance Center in Brooklyn. “I’m clumsy as hell. But it feels good.”

Mr. Badgley, 34, who played lonely boy Dan on the original “Gossip Girl” and now stars on the Netflix thriller “You,” hadn’t visited a gym in two years. He hadn’t taken a dance class in far longer.

But at a fashion shoot a month before, he had found himself moving in tandem with the photographer and missing dance acutely. So he reached out to André Zachery, his gyrotonics instructor and the artistic director of Renegade Performance Group, a contemporary dance company in Brooklyn. Mr. Zachery was willing to put him through his paces.

In the yawning dance studio, mirrors lined one wall. Ice-white tube lights glared overhead. Mr. Badgley had dressed for class in a villain-black T-shirt and shorts. A luxurious dad beard and a corona of mink-brown hair framed his face.

They began with a warm-up: stretches, lunges, isolations of the neck, shoulders, chest and hips. Roy Ayers’s “Everybody Loves the Sunshine” set the groove; Mr. Badgley, his brooding face etched into a frown, inhaled and exhaled in time, rolling his spine down and up.

Mr. Zachery integrated the stretches into a simple routine, and Mr. Badgley lumbering and somewhat stiff, like a bear who hadn’t fully shaken off hibernation, danced his way through the initial eight count, then repeated the steps again.

“All right, not bad,” Mr. Zachery said encouragingly. “You want to go a little faster?”

Mr. Badgley paused to tie his hair back with a blue-and-white bandanna. He asked to take it slow again. “As much as I love to move and I love to dance, it’s not a language that I speak regularly at all,” he said. “So even just getting into this feels great. But it also feels very clumsy.”

Mr. Zachery reassured him, gently countering Mr. Badgley’s perfectionism. “Be imperfect with this,” he said.

As Mr. Zachery prepared the next combination, the track switched to Donny Hathaway’s “The Ghetto,” and Mr. Badgley’s face stern face split into a smile. “This is one of my kid’s favorite songs,” Mr. Badgley said. “He loves classic soul.”

Last summer, Mr. Badgley and his wife, Domino Kirke, welcomed a son. (They also share custody of Ms. Kirke’s son from an earlier relationship.) On “You,” Mr. Badgley plays Joe, the sociopath next door. Joe has also had a son with his wife, Love (Victoria Pedretti), who has a body count of her very own.

In the third season, which premieres on Oct. 15, Joe muses about his new life in a Bay Area suburb. “Me, a boy and his mom, who is usually great, but occasionally murders people with her bare hands,” Joe says. “What could go wrong?” A lot, it turns out.

Mr. Badgley has some experience playing characters with dark motives. The final episodes of “Gossip Girl” revealed that Dan, the Deuxmoi of his day, had surveilled his friends and lovers, uploading their secrets to the pre-Instagram internet.

Making the show was, as Mr. Badgley described it, “an existential endurance test.” As a 20-something, he struggled with the glitzy ethos of the series. Fans’ failure to differentiate between him and Dan nagged at him, too. “I wouldn’t recommend fame to anybody,” he said. “It just doesn’t make anything better or help it make more sense. It doesn’t help you as a person.”

When “Gossip Girl” ended in 2012, he spent half of a decade shooting indie movies and touring with his band, MOTHXR. He wasn’t sure he wanted to return to mainstream TV and he had further doubts about Joe, a character who imprisons, tortures and kills women (and the occasional interfering man), all in the name of true love. Boy gets girl? Absolutely.

Still, he thought that “You” had something to say about the tropes of romantic love and the queasy nexus of desire, power and abuse. Many viewers responded a lot more swoonily and for a while Mr. Badgley took time to razz fans asking to be kidnapped. (“No thx,” he replied.) Now he tries to focus on the work itself, which he likens to a dance, “a torturous and ugly dance.”

Back in the studio, Mr. Badgley was trying to dance more beautifully. He can become overwhelmed by his own thoughts, he said, so Mr. Zachery introduced a guided meditation, occupying Mr. Badgley’s mind so that his body could move more freely.

As Robert Glasper’s cover of “Smells Like Teen Spirit” played, he had Mr. Badgley imagine himself at the beach, his body buoyed by the waves. They also played a game of avant-garde Twister, in which had Mr. Badgley had to keep either both hands and one foot on the floor, or both feet and one hand.

“Yo, man,” Mr. Zachery said approvingly. “You’re actually more in your body than you think.”

Finally, at a suggestion from Mr. Badgley, he switched the music to “Promises,” a mellow album from Floating Points, Pharoah Sanders and the London Symphony Orchestra. The two men began to move across the floor together, limbs slowly cartwheeling as they improvised. Politely, Mr. Badgley asked to turn the music up.

“Now we’re dancing,” he said, back arched, head tipped back, arms like wings. “It feels so good.”



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Beyond Chucky: Frightening Alternatives for Halloween TV

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Beyond Chucky: Frightening Alternatives for Halloween TV


The approach of Halloween brings an influx of horror to television and streaming, and this year the offerings have a classic appeal: reboots of “Chucky” on Syfy and USA, “Day of the Dead” on Syfy and of “I Know What You Did Last Summer” on Amazon Prime Video. But if the familiar delights of those franchises — and the campiness or melodrama that come with them — don’t appeal to you, here are a few recent or coming series that are scary with a difference.

This is the third horror mini-series Mike Flanagan has created for Netflix, following “The Haunting of Hill House” (based on the Shirley Jackson novel) and “The Haunting of Bly Manor” (based on Henry James’s “The Turn of the Screw”). “Midnight Mass” has the same emphasis on chilly, foreboding atmosphere as the earlier shows, but it seems to benefit from not being tied to a specific literary source. (There’s a general aura of Stephen King.) Especially in its early episodes, it feels looser and quirkier and more human.

A lot of the credit for that goes to the stars, Zach Gilford and Hamish Linklater. Gilford plays a native of a small, isolated coastal island who returns home after a stretch in jail for killing someone while driving drunk; Linklater plays a cleric who arrives at the same time, as a temporary replacement for the island’s aging priest.

Gilford perfectly captures the prodigal son’s hangdog guilt and resentment — it’s a far better performance than the show needs — and Linklater, with his gift for boyish pomposity, is entertaining as the well-intentioned priest who brings ruin to the island. Flanagan’s mix of Christian and vampiric lore and imagery is clever, though the later episodes are a little heavy on sermonizing and philosophical exposition. Patience is rewarded with a long cleansing by blood and fire.

The streaming service Topic will premiere this French mini-series in the extreme-crime-thriller category, which makes up a relatively high percentage of northern European TV, on Oct. 28. A reckless police officer (Maïwenn) disappears while on a stakeout in the tunnels beneath Paris, and her mother (Nathalie Baye), a retired detective, sets out to find her in a story involving dirty cops, dark-web thrill seekers, mass graves and chases through very cramped spaces. It is not for the claustrophobic.

As grim and tense as the show sometimes is, though, the really frightening thing about it is Baye, a superstar of French film (10 Cesar nominations, four victories), who appears to be having a blast as Catherine, the domineering, foul-mouthed, relentless ex-cop. An onscreen avatar of capability and insouciance since the early 1970s, Baye looks perfectly at home wielding a tattoo pen against a reluctant suspect or tasering her daughter’s ex-lover just because she feels like it. Baye also takes the trouble, not common in this genre, to give a fully developed performance, as the case’s startling revelations give Catherine perspective on her faults as a mother and as a police colleague. As a bonus, the show reunites Baye with Sergi López, her co-star in “A Pornographic Affair” (1999); their grumpy exes in “Nox” could be the same characters two decades later.

USA’s psychological crime drama stops just short of the supernatural, but it specializes in dread and weird vibes. Harry Ambrose, the broken-down cop played for four seasons now by Bill Pullman, is ridden by guilt, shame and feelings of inadequacy — he’s the real sinner of the title, at least in his own mind — so naturally, he stumbles onto season-long cases involving secret societies or cults or Nietzschean psycho killers. We know he’ll solve them, because he’s a dogged and gifted detective. But on any given day, it’s no sure thing that he’ll be able to drag himself out of bed.

In the new season that began this week, the unlikely romance Harry found in Season 3 has blossomed, which is great news because his partner, the painter Sonya Barzel, is played by the wonderful Jessica Hecht. Her ability to convey both astringency and warmth, sometimes in the same line, puts a new light on Pullman’s Harry, who can sometimes seem like a collection of tics and grimaces and awkward silences — now we see him through Sonya’s eyes, and if she can put up with it, so can we. The season opens with the new couple on vacation on a picturesque New England island where Harry, who’s now retired, stumbles almost immediately into the middle of a missing-persons case that may involve racial animosities in the fishing fleet and grunting, naked moon worshipers.

This anthology of animated ghost stories is a Japanese analogue to comics-inspired American series like “Creepshow.” Its ninth season was recently added by the anime streaming service Crunchyroll, but catching up would not be onerous: Episodes are four minutes long.

The rough, slightly rudimentary two-dimensional animation — like paper cutouts set in motion — pays homage to the kamishibai style of street storytelling and entertainment, which employs illustrated wooden boards. Stories are based on the usual assortment of Japanese folk tales and urban legends; the most recent batch includes cautionary tales about the dangers of visiting your new husband’s unusually tall family or being born in the (nonexistent) Year of the Cat.



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