By Sophia Mittman
Gabby Petito, a 22-year young adult, and her fiance Brian Laundrie went on a cross-country trip starting in June, traveling to numerous national parks. Petito was a young woman who enjoyed vlogging her travels on social media platforms. Her last post was on August 25, 2021, before she was reported missing on September 11 by her parents.
Petito and Laundrie had traveled together since 2019. Petito had a passion for documenting her trips on social media platforms like Tik Tok, Instagram, and YouTube. In July, the young couple went on a cross-country drive where they traveled to national parks, posting from the van where they stayed. On August 12, someone reported the couple to 911 in Moab, Utah, after seeing Petito hit Laundrie in the face and then watched as she climbed through the van’s window. There was a report that police pulled them over and saw Petito crying; however, Laundrie told the officer that since they were together for so long, it led to fighting. Even though it seemed as if Laundrie did not hurt her physically, he was separated from Petito for the night by the officer in order for the couple to have a break.
On September 1, Laundrie returned home alone to where he lived in Florida with Petito. On September 19, there was a report from the FBI stating that they discovered human remains of young Petito in the Teton National Forest. An autopsy was performed, and it was determined that she died after being strangled. Her fiance, Laundrie, would not tell the police nor Petito’s family where he last saw her and refused to talk about anything relating to it. He was silent. Additionally, Petito’s parents told police that they had not heard from their daughter since the end of August and said they would share details if they had any. After Laundrie returned to his home in Florida, he disappeared. Even though Laundrie was nowhere to be found as of September 17, the FBI released an arrest warrant. After an exhaustive manhunt lasting around thiry days, Laundrie was found dead in a Florida swamp near his home. Articles that belonged to him were found on a trail that he enjoyed hiking. He committed suicide by a gun shot to his head.
This story was covered extensively in the news and on social media. Perhaps it will lead to more coverage of other missing young adults and children.
Photo Credit: Gabby Petito's Instagram account