Gabby Petito Prosecutors Need to Tie Up Loose Ends Who Killed Her, Is Brian Laundrie Still Alive?

Gabby Petito's death has put her fiance, Brian Laundrie, in the crosshairs of law enforcement, but TMZ has learned prosecutors are not making a move until 2 primary loose ends are tied up.

Law enforcement sources with direct knowledge tell TMZ ... Laundrie is their suspect, despite the fact he's being officially called a person of interest. That said, we're told federal prosecutors are now in a waiting game, in large part because they don't know if Laundrie is still alive.

What's more ... our law enforcement sources tell TMZ, even if Gabby was murdered -- which seems to be the case since the Coroner has already ruled her death a homicide -- they would need to prove who did it. Our sources point out, it's possible Laundrie left Gabby out in the wilderness and someone else killed her ... whether it's probable or not, it's still possible.

As for why federal prosecutors will handle the case, it's because Gabby was apparently killed in the Grand Teton National Park, which is federal land.

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INTERACTION WITH MOAB POLICE
Moab Police Department

We're told law enforcement is viewing Laundrie as their prime suspect, but there's a leap between that and actually charging someone with murder.

REPORTING A DISTURBANCE
Fox News

As we reported, a witness called 911 and told the dispatcher Laundrie had slapped and hit Gabby shortly before she went missing.

The Coroner is expected to reveal the cause of death shortly.

'Friday' Star Anthony Johnson Family Burdened w/ Funeral Costs ... Wife Calls Out 'Fake Love'

Anthony Johnson's death has left his family scrambling to find a way to cover his burial -- something his wife says isn't being made easy with the empty lip service they're getting.

Lexis Jones Mason tells TMZ ... she and her family have been getting a ton of what she describes as "fake love" left and right in the wake of her husband's sudden passing earlier this month ... which she's quite upset about, seeing how she needs financial assistance.

STOP THE FAKE LOVE
TMZ.com

This interview's heartbreaking -- Lexis fights back tears as she explains how the Johnson family has started a GoFundMe, but have come up way short of the $20k goal they set to properly bury him and give him the service he deserves ... so far raising less than $800.

And, in spite of people apparently telling her they'd donate and chip in ... Lexis says much of that just hasn't materialized, and seems folks would rather lend emotional support instead of actually helping out in a way they really need right now.

Lexis isn't asking for a handout either, BTW ... literally just enough to do right by Anthony. And, as many know, funerals are not cheap by any stretch of the imagination.

While she says she doesn't expect anything from anyone, Lexis would absolutely appreciate any donations friends or fans of AJ could contribute. And, if no one comes through, Lexis says she'll probably cremate him -- and will go back to work ASAP to cover that on her own.

Considering just how beloved Anthony was ... something tells us she'll reach her goal. She's laying it all out there here with us -- and someone's gotta come through for the Johnsons.

'Fedora Guy' Jerry Messing Battling Paralysis After COVID ... But Out of ICU Recovering

Jerry Messing -- known for his role on "Freaks and Geeks" and as the face of a famous meme -- has overcome a huge hurdle in his fight with COVID-19 ... but has another major challenge ahead of him.

First, the good news -- Jerry tells TMZ after being hospitalized in August and placed on a ventilator, he's out of the ICU and off the ventilator ... has been for about a week and a half now. He's also breathing fine without a fever or cough, and has tested negative for COVID.

Sadly though, Jerry says the virus has left him partially paralyzed. He can't move his arms and legs well, and is unable to stand and walk on his own. Jerry says he's doing physical therapy and using a machine to get his legs working again.

The doctors have told him his recovery is going to take some time -- he was already hospitalized for more than a month -- but he tells us things are looking up, and he thanks everyone for their support.

We broke the story ... Jerry got his first dose of the Pfizer vaccine before he got sick, and his dad, James, determined his illness was serious and he needed aid.

Jerry says he has not completed the vaccination process yet -- doctors want him to wait until he's healthier. In particular, they need to make sure he's completely over the pneumonia he contracted during the height of his COVID battle.

James believes Jerry's in good hands at a rehab facility in Tampa that caters to people who are on the road back to recovery ... but if something goes wrong they're fully capable of handling the situation.

Jerry played Gordon Crisp on "Freaks and Geeks" and Pugsley on the "Addams Family Reunion" TV movie before gaining more modern fame as "The Fedora Guy" -- one of the Internet's most popular memes.

Get well soon, Jerry!!!

Ben Baller to Lil Baby Want a Real Patek Philippe Watch?!? Do THIS Instead ...

RISKY BUSINESS
TMZ.com

Lil Baby needs to bend his ear for a minute ... celeb jeweler Ben Baller's offering sound advice on how the rapper can avoid another fake Patek Philippe watch fiasco.

We got Ben out in WeHo Tuesday morning to get his take on the "Drip Too Hard" rapper dropping $400,000 for one of the most luxurious watches in the world ... only to find out it was a total fake.

Ben -- who has done sick bling work for the likes of Elon Musk, Kid Cudi and A$AP Rocky, to name just a few -- says it all comes down to building relationships. How, specifically?

The celeb jeweler tells us Lil Baby's best bet is to hit up Patek Philippe authorized dealers on and buy small, establish yourself as a loyal client and build your way up.

For the uninitiated ... Lil Baby was hyped about copping the 40th-anniversary Nautilus Patek Philippe watch. Problem was ... after posting a pic on Instagram ahead of his arrival at the Met Gala, watch aficionados realized -- and alerted Lil Baby -- his watch was a fake.

Waiting for your permission to load the Instagram Media.

The rapper was furious ... to the point he publicly called out the jeweler who sold him the watch, Rafaello & Co. The jeweler has since admitted it sold the rapper a fake by mistake.

The company also issued a public apology, gave Lil Baby a full refund and gifted him 4 diamond rings "as a token of our sincere apologies."

That's cool and all ... but Ben Baller's other big advice for Lil Baby -- never, EVER buy a Patek Philippe from a jeweler. The watch game right now is so insane ... there's only one place you'd wanna go to spend this kind of money for a luxurious watch.

BTW, because you're probably curious, the most expensive Patek Philippe watch ever sold went down at auction in Geneva in 2019 ... with the Grandmaster Chime selling for a whopping $31,194,370. 😱

Ne-Yo Signs Singer Miles to Deal ... After Tory Lanez IG Show

Ne-Yo's got a new talent waiting in the wings of the music world -- a guy named Miles, who actually got some shine from none other than Tory Lanez, and a bit he started during the 'Rona pandemic.

Miles was one of many artists featured on Tory's popular Quarantine Radio segment last year, which he'd host on Instagram Live. It's pretty simple ... musicians beam in and show off their stuff to Tory and his millions of followers.

TORY TAKES OFF!
@milesmusic_ / Instagram

If you missed it, Miles impressed big time during something Tory called the "Wow Challenge" ... doing an acoustic cover of Michael Jackson's "Dirty Diana." Makes sense, he sounds exactly like MJ, so the dude's clearly talented.

Anyway, flash-forward to today ... and Miles is now a signed artist under Ne-Yo's Compound Music imprint -- and already in the studio working on new tunes, and absorbing a ton of knowledge from the legendary R&B star.

We chopped it up with Miles, and he gave us a breakdown of how his deal came together, and where he and Ne-Yo are headed next.

HE CHANGED THE GAME FOR ME
TMZ.com

Just like anything else in the biz, it's all about who you know ... or who's seen you -- and, in this case, it was Ne-Yo's guys who spotted him on Quarantine Radio and told the boss to invite the kid in for a sit-down.

They inked a deal earlier this past July, and now ... Miles has a new single out called "Gone" that just dropped a week or so ago.

MILES & NEYO IN THE STUDIO
Erica Star Domena

Like we said ... Miles and Ne-Yo are already hard at work -- which you can see in this footage of them recording.

Seems like NY audiences are impressed, and rightly so. Dude can saaang!

NBA's Jaxson Hayes Police Union Blasts District Attorney ... You Put A Target On Cops' Backs

A huge LAPD police union is going scorched earth on the Los Angeles District Attorney after he decided NOT to charge Jaxson Hayes with a felony, following the arrest of the New Orleans Pelicans star in July.

"George Gascon's latest criminal's first airball puts a target on the back of every police officer in Los Angeles," the Los Angeles Police Protective League tells TMZ Sports.

The LAPPL -- which reps over 9,000 cops in L.A. -- continued, "Gascon's refusal to prosecute Jaxson Hayes for violently attacking and injuring an officer during his n-word laced tirade is nothing more than a declaration that it's open season to attack cops and it's shameful."

CHAOTIC ARREST
Los Angeles Police Department

The union is livid that Gascon's office decided against charging Hayes with any felonies ... despite the fact he seemingly pushed an officer on video.

FYI, Gascon is a polarizing figure. His critics have accused him of being soft on crime ... and failing to protect law enforcement officers.

Still, Hayes isn't totally out of the water criminally ... it's still possible the city attorney could levy a misdemeanor charge(s) against Jaxson.

We broke the story, 21-year-old Hayes -- the 8th overall pick in the 2018 draft -- was arrested for battery on a law enforcement officer after Jaxson got physical with a cop who was investigating a domestic violence call after Hayes' GF allegedly said she was scared her hooper BF was going to physically harm her.

911 AUDIO
Los Angeles Police Department

Police released body camera footage ... and it seems Hayes pushed an officer, injuring him in the process, according to LAPD.

What happened next has caused some controversy.

Cops eventually got Hayes to the floor, but the struggle continued. An officer deployed his taser at least once. At one point during the arrest, Hayes said he couldn't breathe.

As a result, LAPD launched an investigation to determine if excessive force was used. That investigation is still ongoing.

As for the LAPPL, they weren't done ... they also went in on the NBA for failing to discipline Hayes, or condemn his actions.

"As for the NBA, their silence is deafening when it comes to one of their players assaulting an officer and thwarting a domestic violence investigation. Apparently, their policy on preventing domestic violence was created more for SportsCenter than it is to actually hold its players accountable. Real classy."

We reached out to the DA's office ... but they declined comment.

We also reached out to the NBA. So far, no word back.

Guess Who This Giggling Girl Turned Into!

Before this sweetie in stripes was the star of one of streamings' most popular television series, she was just another girl giggling for the camera in Le Mans, France.

This fun-loving lady recently launched her acting career into the spotlight when she scored the leading role in a UK comedy show that explores all the awkward and embarrassing woes of high school relationships -- which has already gained her a nomination for a BAFTA Award for Best Female Comedy Performance. The popular television streaming series just premiered its third season on Netflix last week.

Can you guess who she is?

'Sex and the City' Willie Garson Dead at 57 ... After Cancer Battle

Willie Garson -- famous for his role in the "Sex and the City" series and movies -- has died ... according to his close friends.

"Bosch" star Titus Welliver broke the news of Willie's passing with a post that said, "There are no words. I love you dear brother. We are fewer," and he attached a photo of Willie.

Willie's fellow actor and friend Rob Morrow also posted a tribute.

Sources connected to the 'SATC' star tell us he'd been battling cancer, though we've not confirmed it as his cause of death.

Willie was a fan fave from the hit HBO series ... playing Sarah Jessica Parker's male BFF, Stanford Blatch -- a gay socialite who Carrie Bradshaw often called "Stanny."

He didn't appear in every episode, but for the 27 he did pop up for over the course of 6 years ... his scenes were always memorable.

Willie was also in both 'SATC' movies ... and he's at least slated to appear with SJP and co. in "And Just Like That..." -- the new HBO Max series. We know he shot scenes in NYC this summer with Sarah Jessica and Mario Cantone.

WG's roles went well beyond 'SATC' though -- he's been in tons of shows and movies throughout his career ... including stuff like "White Collar," "Hawaii Five-0," "Quantum Leap," "Girl Meets World," "Mr. Belvedere," "Just Shoot Me!" "Big Mouth," "Supergirl," and many, many more.

He's got a total of 170 acting credits to his name, dating back to the '80s.

Willie was 57. He leaves behind his son, Nathen.

RIP

Nicole Richie Lights Hair on Fire During 40th Bday Dinner

THAT'S HOT
@nicolerichie / Instagram

Nicole Richie is probably wishing for a fire extinguisher on her 40th birthday ... because her hair was set ablaze during her birthday dinner.

The actress posted a video Tuesday showing herself blowing out the candles on a cake to ring in the big 4-0 -- and all seemed to be going well, until she reached the final candle ... and flew a little too close to the sun.

Some stray strands of her locks made contact with the flame below, and the fire quickly jumped onto her body and started climbing up. It actually looks like the other side of her head might've caught fire as well -- but that was quickly put out by someone nearby.

However, her right side was still caught in the flame ... and she starts to scream as it spreads. The video cuts out before we can find out what happens next -- but we're assuming NR is okay.

Her caption to this read, "Well... so far 40 is 🔥." Pretty jokey, so you gotta figure she walked away from this relatively unscathed. Still, pretty freaky nonetheless.

Not to make too much light of this -- but that's hot, Nic. Be careful!

Conor McGregor My Arm Is Notorious, Too Hilariously Bad First Pitch

Move over, 50 Cent, there's a new worst first pitch of all time ... courtesy of Conor McGregor's ceremonial toss at the Cubs game on Tuesday!!!

The sharply-dressed UFC superstar strutted to the mound for the first pitch before the Cubbies faced off against the Minnesota Twins at Wrigley Field ... and chucked his attempt about 20 feet to the right of home plate.

As Harry Doyle would say, it was "juuuuuust a bit outside."

On a positive note, McGregor's repaired leg looked great!

The fighter was a great sport about it all ... dapping up Cubs infielder Patrick Wisdom after the wild pitch.

Of course, this is Conor we're talking about ... so we're assuming (and hoping) he was just trying to give fans a fun time.

Then again, we've seen him throw a football before ... and he was mocked incessantly for that, too.

It's a safe bet Conor's pitch will now take honors for "worst first pitch ever" from Fiddy, who had a straight-up embarrassing toss that went wide left before a Mets game in 2014.

Conor's been living it up while rehabbing his leg ... from hanging with Justin Bieber to attending the VMAs (where he also tested out his arm with a different object) and hitting up just about every hotspot L.A. has to offer.

Never change, Conor ... but maybe try some practice throws next time???

Gabby Petito Body Found Is Hers ... Coroner Says It Was Homicide

Gabby Petito's body has, indeed, been recovered in Wyoming -- and the Coroner says this was a homicide.

As we reported, the Teton County Coroner was conducting the autopsy Tuesday on the remains cops found over the weekend in Grand Teton National Park. The Coroner's Office is now confirming the body is Gabby's. Attorney Richard Stafford said the same.

Before today, the feds simply said they believed it was Gabby. You'll recall the corpse was found near an area where the white van she and fiance, Brian Laundrie, were traveling in was spotted.

While Laundrie has not yet been named a suspect, the FBI is conducting a manhunt for him. As you know, Laundrie had returned to his parent's home in Florida ... without Gabby.

Plus, the guy has mysteriously disappeared without a trace ... although, there was a potential sighting this week. A man in Baker, FL reported that he believed he saw a man matching Brian's description pop up on his deer cam ... some 500 miles away from North Port, FL, where Brian lives.

Gabby and Brian had been on a cross-country road trip together for months now -- documenting their stops in a white van they'd taken out. Another thing that was also caught on camera was an alleged domestic disturbance ... the aftermath of which a police officer filmed on his body camera upon pulling them over.

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INTERACTION WITH MOAB POLICE
Moab Police Department

While Gabby was distraught, Brian denied he'd hit her ... despite a 911 caller claiming he did exactly that. In any case, the cop cut both of them loose after they both refused to press charges.

Gabby has been unaccounted for since late August. Her family first reported her missing on Sept. 11 -- and believe Brian has something to do with her fate.

Mama June Ex-BF Geno Doak Enters Rehab in S.C.

Mama June's estranged BF appears to finally be getting the help he needs ... 'cause we've learned he's checked into rehab.

According to new legal docs, obtained by TMZ, Geno Doak was hospitalized in Fort Pierce, Florida earlier this month. It's unclear why he landed in the hospital, but we do know doctors there referred him to a recovery center in South Carolina, and he checked into that facility on Monday.

In the docs, the director of the center says Geno will be a resident in the long-term intensive program and be required to make a minimum of a 120-day commitment. But, he also has the option to stay for up to a year if necessary.

The program is designed to help individuals develop their capacity for a healthy transition to sober living ... and all residents are required to eventually seek employment and are encouraged to assume responsibility of themselves and their recovery.

The documents were filed to loop in the judge from Geno's crack cocaine case. As we reported ... Mama June and Geno were both busted outside an Alabama gas station back in March 2019 and charged with felony drug possession.

While their relationship status had remained unclear for months, it was back in August when June announced Geno was no longer a part of her life, so many fans assumed they split.

Geno was sentenced to 16 months in Macon County Community Corrections. He wasn't going to physically be behind bars, but had to follow a set of rules.

For instance, he was supposed to relocate from Florida to Alabama within 30 to 45 days of his July sentencing date ... but he failed to do so.

Now the court knows he'll be in treatment in South Carolina for at least the next 4 months. At least that's the plan.

The Rolling Stones 'We're Playing for You, Charlie!!!' Dedicate First Tour Stop to Late Drummer

THIS ONE'S FOR CHARLIE

The Rolling Stones are officially out on their first-ever tour without Charlie Watts, and the loss was obvious at their first show ... which they dedicated to the only drummer they've ever had.

Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and co. performed Monday at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA -- a private gig for Patriots owner Robert Kraft -- and before things got started, MJ made sure to shout out Charlie, who died last month.

The last 3 Stones -- Keith, Mick and Ron Wood -- stood shoulder-to-shoulder as Mick explained how much they miss Charlie, on and off the stage, and recalled the memories they'd all made together over 59 years.

You could hear Mick start to choke up a bit as he dedicated the show to their late drummer ... and raised his drink to the crowd.

Mick telegraphed his thoughts, wondering out loud what song they'd open with, and admitting he was a little emotional.

The concert went off without a hitch after that -- with the guys playing their beloved hits, plus some new ones. Steve Jordan has the unenviable job of drumming, but by all reports ... he did Charlie proud.

Gabby Petito's Fiance Brian Laundrie Possibly Spotted ... FL Cops Investigating Cam Footage

1:20 PM PT -- The Oskaloosa Co. Sheriff just released a statement saying they searched the area where the image was taken extensively and didn't find anything, or anyone, of interest. Cops searched using a drone, and checked nearby farmlands.

In a statement, cops said, "There are no known possible past or current connections between Laundrie and anyone in this area at this time to follow up on."

The hunt for Gabby Petito's fiance, Brian Laundrie -- who's believed to be the last person to see her alive -- may have broken wide open ... because someone thinks they spotted him about 500 miles from his Florida home.

Sam Bass says a man fitting Brian's description was seen on his trail camera set up in the wilderness in Baker, FL early Monday morning ... and he's alerted the authorities.

Bass' deer camera footage shows a man with a backpack trekking through the woods, and he certainly resembles Laundrie ... who was reported missing by his family after being named a person of interest in the disappearance of Gabby.

Folks were quick to point out Baker is about 450-500 miles away from Laundrie's home in North Port -- which would be quite a journey on foot over 4 days -- but the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office has confirmed it's actively looking into the footage ... but there's no confirmation it's Brian yet.

People have also pointed out that the man's backpack is similar to Laundrie's, and his parents told authorities he left with it on a hike Friday and never came back.

As we've reported ... the story of Gabby and Brian -- who were on a cross-country trip this summer and documenting it on social media -- garnered national attention when he returned to his Florida home without her on Sept. 1.

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INTERACTION WITH MOAB POLICE
Moab Police Department

Gabby was reported missing 10 days later by her family, who claim Brian was not cooperative at all in trying to locate her, and the feds believe they found her body at a national park Sunday in Wyoming ... a place she was believed to have visited with her fiance.

REPORTING A DISTURBANCE
Fox News

There was also a domestic dispute between the couple in mid-August in Utah, but the authorities released them with no charges or arrests. A 911 caller from that incident said they had observed Brian physically attacking Gabby ... she went missing sometime after that.

On Monday, FBI agents tore up Brian's parent's home in Florida, searching for evidence and leaving with several boxes.

A makeshift memorial has already been set up at the site where the remains believed to be hers were found, though the autopsy confirming it's her has not been disclosed yet.

Originally Published -- 10:31 AM PT

New Orleans Saints Superdome Catches On Fire ... Flames And Smoke Billow From Roof

FIRE AT THE SUPERDOME
FOX8

12:28 PM PT -- Superdome officials say they believe the fire began in a gutter tub on the roof after a pressure washer had caught fire.

Officials added the fire has since been extinguished, and damage to the stadium's structure is "still being assessed."

11:45 AM PT -- The New Orleans Fire Department tells TMZ Sports ... they were dispatched to the scene at 12:35 PM and believe the fire started where workers were working on the roof.

Officials say the fire, however, "doesn't appear to be a major incident."

As for injuries ... the New Orleans Emergency Medical Services announced one person has been transported to a nearby hospital due to minor burns.

The Superdome caught on fire Tuesday morning ... with thick smoke and flames billowing out of the famed New Orleans arena's roof.

It's unclear what caused the issues at the Saints' stadium ... authorities so far have only told us "the fire is not burning anymore."

We're working to get further details.

As we previously reported, the Saints have relocated out of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Ida -- moving their Week 1 game against the Packers from the Superdome to Jacksonville.

The team -- which beat Green Bay in the opener but lost to the Panthers in Carolina on Sunday -- is not currently scheduled to play in the N.O. stadium until Oct. 3 against the New York Giants.

No decision yet has been made regarding the location of that game.

Originally Published -- 11:02 AM PT

Nancy Grace Gabby Petito's Cause of Death ... It's Coroner vs. Wyoming Elements

THE TRUTH WILL COME OUT
TMZ.com

Nancy Grace says determining Gabby Petito's cause of death could be hampered by the wildlife of Wyoming -- but, adds, the fact her tattoos were ID'd offers a glimmer of hope.

The author and HLN host joined "TMZ Live" Tuesday and said she's not sure Tuesday's autopsy will ultimately determine how Petito died ... or if her fiance, Brian Laundrie, was involved.

Her theory? The site where authorities found remains matching Gabby's description experiences such intense weather elements, it could have caused decay or damage to the body that might conceal markers the coroner would use to determine cause of death.

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INTERACTION WITH MOAB POLICE
Moab Police Department

Nancy points out there's also a lot of wild animal activity in that area, and it's possible the creatures could have damaged the corpse.

That being said ... Nancy says there's hope Gabby's body was found somewhat, if not fully, intact. Remember, the FBI said the body they found was "consistent with the description" of Petito.

Nancy says, that if authorities were able to immediately identify Gabby's tattoos -- on her left arm and right forearm -- it's possible her skin was still intact ... meaning the body could offer clues about what led to her death.

With all we know at this point, she sees 3 possible explanations for Gabby's disappearance and possible death. She also tells us why she thinks cops never named Laundrie a suspect.

As for Laundrie ... he's been missing for days now but a trail cam set up in the wilderness in Baker, FL may have spotted him. The FBI is investigating the possible sighting.

In the meantime, a memorial has been set up at the site where authorities believe they found her body.

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