Petito news leads to body of missing man

Widespread news coverage of a woman found dead in western Wyoming helped searchers in an unrelated case find a man’s body not far away, officials said.

A team with a search dog looked for four hours Tuesday before finding the body of a man matching the description of Robert ‘Bob’ Lowery, according to a Teton County Search & Rescue statement.

Lowery, 46, of Houston, went missing Aug. 20. The man’s body was found on a steep, wooded slope in the area of Teton Pass in western Wyoming.

News coverage of Gabby Petito, 22, who went missing on a cross-country road trip and whose body was found near Grand Teton National Park on Sept. 19, sometimes mentioned Lowery’s disappearance. That prompted at least two people to call authorities with information about Lowery, searchers said Tuesday.

Lowery was wearing a black baseball cap with a gold letter “P” and spotted in hotel camera images carrying a black duffel bag with the Nike logo. Searchers in the area of a popular canyon trail said they found a bag matching that description with the body, far off the trail.

The Teton Pass-area canyon where the man’s body was found is about 45 miles from where Petito was found. Petito’s parents reported her missing Sept. 11 after she didn’t respond to calls and texts while she and boyfriend Brian Laundrie visited national parks in the West.

Petito’s death has been classified as a homicide and Laundrie is being sought as a person of interest in the case.

— Associated Press


Hastert settlement with accuser finalized

A judge on Wednesday finalized an out-of-court settlement between former U.S. House speaker J. Dennis Hastert and a man who alleged that Hastert sexually abused him decades ago.

In a one-page order, Kendall County Judge Robert Pilmer dismissed the lawsuit the man filed “pursuant to the confidential settlement between the two parties.”

Pilmer was to preside over civil trial of the lawsuit filed by the man who alleged that Hastert violated a verbal agreement between the two after paying only about half of the $3.5 million he said he would provide in exchange for the man’s silence about Hastert’s sexual abuse of him in the 1970s.

The man contended that he was a teenage student at Yorkville High School in Illinois and Hastert was a wrestling coach when the abuse occurred.

Hastert was one of the most powerful politicians in the nation and the longest-serving Republican House speaker when he stepped down in 2007.

— Associated Press