By: Eva Guzman, 9th Grade
Gabrielle Petito, commonly known as Gabby Petito, was a girl who went on a cross-country road trip around the western United States with her fiancé and never came back. Gabby Petito’s trip ended in her disappearance and later her body was found, which police stated as a case of homicide. This 22-year-old influencer was reported missing by her parents after the 30th of August when they last talked to their daughter, Gabby Petito. Her body was found on the 19th of September in Bridger-Teton National Forest, in Wyoming.
The influencer shared her trips with her followers, created content, and was active on social media. She posted photos and videos of the trip while traveling with her 23-year-old boyfriend, Brian Laundrie. The social media platforms she frequented were Youtube, Instagram, and Tik Tok.
Their trajectory began in Florida, where the couple lived, and from there they traveled to the western coast. On the west coast, they were firstly located on Long Island, where they started their trip on the 2nd of July, which had the purpose of visiting states and national parks across the Western Coast. Their transportation method was the white Ford van that Gabby had and they were camping and resting in the different areas they visited. The cross-country road trip was meant to go around the states of New York to Oregon.
The trip went as planned until August 12th, when in Moab, Utah, police had separated the couple for the night because as the police officers stated, the girl was confused and emotional. This was because of an argument they had, that led to the start of a physical fight. 911 received a call in which someone described the situation, the male was slapping the female, they ran through the sidewalk, he hit her and then both got into the car, in which they drove after this. Later, police officers detained them, based on what the caller said. Their case was examined and they were dismissed and free to go.
Days later, on the 17th of August, Brian Laundrie, the influencer’s boyfriend, returned from Salt Lake City to Tampa Florida, to look for commodities that the couple had left in a storage unit. Adding to this, he also said to his family that he went to close the storage unit, as the trip was going to be extended. Later on the 23rd of August, he returned back to Salt Lake City where his fiancé was waiting for him.
The couple then went to Louisiana, where they stopped in Wyoming, Jackson. They stopped by a restaurant where witnesses said that they were in an argument, the man was really mad and the woman was crying. This occurred on the 27th of August and was stated by a couple who saw what happened while they were on a vacation in the state.
In the last week of August she kept little contact with her parents, she was keeping small talk and her parents immediately realized that she wasn’t the one writing the text messages. The last message they received from their daughter was on the 30th of August which was “No service in Yosemite.” Then, the contact that the parents had with their daughter disappeared. On the 1st of September, Brian Laundrie went back to Florida, but he was missing something, which was his fiancé. Brain Laundrie refused to talk to the police, days passed and on the 11th of September, her parents reported her as missing.
Days passed and Brian Laundrie still didn’t talk to the police but on the 19th of September the FBI found a body in Bridger-Teton National Forest, in Wyoming, as the FBI reported, the body was a perfect demonstration of the description of the influencer. The only thing that was missing was the cause of death and the “person of interest” in the case was Brian Laudrie, as he was called during the investigation process. The cause of death was stated as a homicide on the 21st of September when an autopsy was made on the body and it was confirmed that the body was hers. On the 12th of October, the precise cause of her death was discovered, she was strangled to death by someone.
By this, the FBI has made a warrant of arrest of Brian Laundrie but he is still missing. He could lastly be tracked by the police in the Carlton Reserve in Florida, three weeks had passed while the FBI had looked for him. The wild areas of North Port had been prioritized by the FBI as possible locations where Brian Laundrie could be located. The families of both in the relationship had gone through various interviews, they have talked about the situation and had been talking about each family in the interviews, everything revolving towards their present situation.
Till now, the case hasn’t been closed and the investigation process is still occurring, state police and the FBI have been trying to find as many clues as possible to conclude this case and for justice to occur. If there have been new findings in the case, please inform us of them.
Why has this case been prioritized by the police and FBI?:
A white influencer’s case has been prioritized, but why? In comparison to other similar cases, in this case, the police have gone far and beyond to get to the bottom of it. Gabby, was a recognized travel influencer, and this case has gone viral. The #GabbyPetito is viral on the internet, especially on Tik Tok, having more than 500 million views. People are really concerned about this case and want to know what happened to her.
Murder cases are very famous on the internet, and this type of situation creates a lot of impotence in society, mostly because it shows women’s violence. Who would think that a happy couple’s trip would end as a tragedy? The most shocking part of this is that Gabby could prevent her death in many opportunities. The police, on one occasion, detained her in the middle of her trip. They found her crying since they were people in the same place as her, so they called the police to report the violence that her fiancé showed towards her.
Another factor we need to point out about the prioritization of the case of Gabby is color and age. As stated, approximately 700 indigenous people have disappeared in Wyoming, this was mostly girls, the number of disappearances has only been in the last decade. The case of Gabby, a white 22-year-old girl, who is an influencer was not the same as the other that had occurred in the same area, just because her case wasn’t common.
The case was prioritized because of her position in society, as an influencer, and many other factors previously mentioned. She was young and white, people saw it odd because things like this don’t happen often, so the police and FBI prioritized the situation just because of superficial factors, such as color, age, and popularity.
- Maxouris, C. (2021). A timeline of 22-year-old Gabby Petito’s case. Retrieved 10 October 2021,from https://edition.cnn.com/2021/09/16/us/gabby-petito-timeline-missing-case/index.html
- Everything we know about Gabby Petito’s murder on ‘dream’ road trip. (2021). Retrieved 10 October 2021, from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/crime/gabby-petito-missing-police-evidence-b1922028.html
- Lampen, C. (2021). What We Know About the Disappearance of Gabby Petito. Retrieved 10 October 2021, from https://www.thecut.com/2021/09/disappearance-of-gabby-petito-what-we-know.html
- Police say there’s a 50-50 chance missing Brian Laundrie is still alive. (2021). Retrieved 10 October 2021, from https://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/americas/crime/brian-laundrie-update-gabby-petito-news-b1931412.html
- Holcombe, M. (2021). A coroner has ruled Gabby Petito died by strangulation. But these questions are left unanswered. Retrieved 15 October 2021, from https://edition.cnn.com/2021/10/13/us/gabby-petito-brian-laundrie-investigation-update-wednesday/index.html
- Why the Gabby Petito case has drawn so much attention compared to other missing people cases – Poynter. (2021). Retrieved 15 October 2021, from https://www.poynter.org/fact-checking/2021/why-the-gabby-petito-case-has-drawn-so-much-attention-compared-to-other-missing-people-cases/