The Gabby Petito Case
By Teresa Prytko, Staff Writer
22-year-old Gabrielle, Gabby, Petito was a social media influencer who was on a cross-country road trip with her fiancé, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie. Everything seemed wonderful until Petito never returned home and Laundrie disappeared without speaking to the authorities about what happened to his fiancé.
Petito and Laundrie began their trip in July 2020, starting in Colorado and travelling to Utah from there. The couple was documenting their trip and posting about it on their social media. On September 1st, Laundrie showed up back home in Florida without Petito. Ten days later on September 11th, Petito was reported missing. A few days later Laundrie said he was going hiking again and disappeared in a 25,000-acre Florida nature reserve.
On September 19th in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Park, a body was discovered and later confirmed to belong to Gabby Petito.
While they were in Utah, the couple was pulled over by a police officer after a report of domestic violence. A witness reported that Laundrie slapped Petito and locked her out of the van. The officer that pulled them over did not have enough evidence to charge them, so instead the couple was separated for the night. Laundrie was checked into a hotel and Petito stayed in the van.
Gabby had been in close contact with her family but suddenly stopped all contact on August 30th. Her last text to her mother was a message that simply said “no service in Yosemite”. Earlier on the 27th, she sent a strange text to her mother that said said, “Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls.” She called her grandfather, Stan, by his first name, which was something she never did.
On August 25th, Gabby posted her last picture on Instagram. The caption read “Happy Halloween”, even though it was nowhere near Halloween or even October.
The FBI has since taken over the case and placed a warrant for Brian’s arrest, however, Laundries’ family attorney has stated that the warrant is for events that are not connected to Gabby’s death. Laundrie has not been seen since he left his house in early September. The FBI has gone to his parent’s house, where he and Petito lived, to find evidence that could help with the case. No arrests have been made so far.
Petito’s family has pleaded with Laundrie’s family for their cooperation, but they are remaining silent. Her family recently announced that they will be creating the Gabby Petito Foundation that will honor her memory and also work to help other families in similar situations.