Gabby Petito: a romantic trip through the country that ended in tragedy

Gabby Petito: a romantic trip through the country that ended in tragedy

When her family in New York reported her disappearance a year ago, the few details aroused the interest of the entire country: she was 22 years old, she went out for a walk with her boyfriend and he returned to her house alone in Florida.

This Sunday, September 11, marks one year since the young Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito was reported missing by her family in New York, starting a frantic search that led to the discovery of her body in a national park in the West of the United States. country, the discovery of the remains of his murderer in a Florida reserve and ultimately left a big question about his last moments of life.

When his family reported his disappearance that September 11 at around 6:55 p.m., the little information available aroused the interest of the entire country: Petito was 22 years old, on a road trip across the United States with his boyfriend, Brian Laundrie and documented the walk on their social networks.

In addition, there was another detail that caused many suspicions: her partner had returned alone to Florida, where she lived with her family.

In the missing person report, Suffolk County Police said Petito stopped communicating with his family in the last week of August while traveling through Wyoming in a white 2012 Ford Transit van, which was found in Florida and became the suspect. research center during the first weeks.

The young woman’s last post on Instagram was on August 25.

At the time, Petito was described as a white woman with blue eyes and several tattoos, including one with the message “let it be” (or “Dejalo ser”, in Spanish).

Here we give you a recount of the key moments of the investigation case:

SEPTEMBER 15: BRIAN LAUNDRIE IS NAMED A PERSON OF INTEREST

Four days after the family’s report, the North Port Police Department in Florida confirmed that Brian Laundrie was a person of interest in Gabby Petito’s disappearance.

On September 17, the family’s lawyer, Steven Bertolino, warned in a statement that the 23-year-old’s whereabouts were unknown and that his parents had last seen him on Tuesday the 14th, one day before the authorities named him. person of interest

Later, North Port Police confirmed that the department and the FBI are “currently searching for Brian Laundrie.”

“For six days, the North Port Police Department and the FBI have implored the family to contact investigators about Gabby Petito, Brian’s fiancée. Friday was the first time they spoke with investigators in detail.” the police force said on its Twitter account.

Laundrie’s disappearance prompted multiple law enforcement agencies to conduct a weeks-long search of the Carlton Nature Preserve, which is more than 24,000 acres in Sarasota County. His parents said that the young man used to go to that place and the authorities thought that he could be there.

The search operation ended without any important findings, but the place would return to be the center of the investigation almost a month later.

SEPTEMBER 16: VIDEO OF INCIDENT IN UTAH IS REVEALED

While federal agents continued to try to locate Petito and her boyfriend, the Moab Police Department in Utah uncovered a key piece in the case: a video of the two after an alleged fight that would have included a slap and some scratches. .

In the video, Petito can be seen in dismay, crying and trying to explain to the officers what was happening with her fiancé.

The incident had occurred on August 12 and the police became involved after a man called 911 to report a domestic dispute at the intersection of Moonflower and Main streets, in the city located about 190 miles southeast of Salt Lake City.

“The man was slapping the girl,” the man told the emergency operator, who asks, “was he slapping her?” The witness’s answer was “yes.”

The man said that he stopped and the couple began to run down the sidewalk, the man “hit her and they got into the car.”

Officers who spoke with Petito and Laundrie concluded it was a mental health crisis and not a domestic violence incident, so they were released with the suggestion that they spend the night apart, according to the police report.

An investigation determined that the police made “several unintentional errors” when responding to the incident.

The young woman’s family ended up suing the police force in August 2022 for wrongful death, because they claim that “if the officers had received the proper training and followed the law, Gabby would still be alive.”

SEPTEMBER 19: THE BODY OF GABBY PETITO IS FOUND

Authorities found Petito’s body on Sunday, September 19, 2021, in an area of ​​the Grand Teton National Forest in Wyoming.

Initially, FBI agents said the body “matched” the girl’s description, but the medical examiner confirmed two days later that it was her.

The preliminary autopsy report also concluded that Petito’s death was a homicide.

The latest findings in the investigation led a federal court to issue an arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie, who remained unaccounted for, for using Petito’s debit card after she was dead.

OCTOBER 12: AUTOPSY REVEALS HOW PETITO DIED

Brent Blue, the medical examiner for Teton County, Wyoming, revealed that Petito died of strangulation about three to four weeks before her body was found on Sept. 19 near Grand Teton National Park.

Although there is no certainty, some believe that her death may have been on August 27, when she turned off her cell phone and two days after last communicating with her family.

In his report, Blue did not give details about the conditions in which the young woman’s body was found and refused to answer if Petito was strangled with his hands or with an object, alleging that Wyoming laws limited him to giving more information.

Before the announcement of the results of the autopsy, the Laundrie family’s lawyer issued a statement in which he described his death as a “tragedy”.

In response, Gabby Petito’s mother only said: “his words of hers are rubbish.”

OCTOBER 20: REMAINS OF BRIAN LAUNDRIE FOUND

On that Wednesday morning, Brian Laundrie’s parents found some of the young man’s belongings on a trail he frequented on the Carlton Reservation in Florida, the same place where authorities have been looking for him for a month.

According to the family’s attorney, Steven Bertolino, Chris and Roberta Laundrie told the FBI and North Port Police the night before that they planned to go to the spot in the park where the family’s silver Mustang was abandoned in mid-September.

Then, another search operation was unleashed in the reserve, in which they also included a body-sniffing dog.

Later, the FBI confirmed that they found possible human remains and some items belonging to Laundrie — a backpack and a notebook — in an area that had been underwater until recently.

The next day, the FBI confirmed that it was his remains using dental record comparisons.

NOVEMBER 23: FORENSIC REVEALS HOW BRIAN LAUNDRIE DIED

Laundrie died of a self-inflicted gunshot to the head, Steven Bertolino, the family’s attorney, first revealed and was later confirmed by the Florida Twelfth District Medical Examiner’s Office.

“Chris and Roberta Laundrie have been advised that the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head and the manner of death was suicide,” Bertolino said in a news release published Tuesday afternoon.

“Chris and Roberta are still mourning the loss of their son and are hopeful that these findings will bring closure to both families,” the statement added.

Hours later, the Twelfth District Medical Examiner’s Office (covering Sarasota, Manatee and DeSoto counties) confirmed the cause of death.

JANUARY 21, 2022: CONFESSION

In a statement, the FBI revealed that in Laundrie’s notebook found on the Florida reservation was a note in which he claimed responsibility for the young woman’s death.

The FBI indicated that no person other than Brian Laundrie was “directly involved in the tragic death of Gabby Petito” and announced the closure of the investigative case.

PETITO VS LAUNDRIE

Since the first days of the investigation, the Petito family has accused Laundrie’s parents of having covered up and helped hide the murder of the young woman.

“We think you know where Brian left Gabby. Please tell us. Gabby lived with you for a year. She was to be your daughter-in-law. How can you hide her location?” attorney Richard Stafford read a letter. of the Petite family.

In June 2022, the Petito family began proceedings to sue Brian Laundrie’s parents in a Florida court.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.