The Case of Gabby Petito – 22-year-old Girl Missing After Van Trip with Fiancé

September 23, 2021 Criminal Defense, News & Announcements

The tragic story of Gabby Petito’s disappearance has taken over the nation in just the matter of a few weeks. Florida resident and Youtuber Gabby Petito, 22, was originally reported missing by the Suffolk County Police Department on September 11th, after she had not returned from a cross-country trip. She was last seen with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, on the extended road trip. They had recently bought a campervan together, planning on traveling across the country over the course of three months. They had been visiting multiple states, including Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.  

Things get dark when the fiancé returned, but Gabby did not. Gabby’s parents had stated that they were in contact with Gabby throughout the entire trip. However, it turned to radio silence towards the end of August, and they began to grow worried. They finally reached out to the police on September 11th to report Gabby as missing.

Gabby’s fiancé, Brian Laundrie, 23, has been the main point of interest from the beginning of the case. He returned to his parents’ home on September 1st where him and Gabby were supposed to end the trip. Except Laundrie had returned on his own, and nothing had been said to Gabby’s parents. It was not until 10 days later that her parents reported her missing. Laundrie was not immediately charged with any crime since the police didn’t have any evidence or proof, but he refused to speak to anyone regarding Gabby’s disappearance.

The more time passed the more police grew worried, pleading for anyone with information to come forward about her whereabouts.

After all efforts were exhausted this last Sunday by the FBI and the police, a discovery was made in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. Human remains were found buried in an underdeveloped camping area and sent to Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue for review. From his findings, he ruled the manner of the death was a homicide. On Tuesday the news everyone was most dreading was released: it was in fact Gabby Petito’s remains that were found.

Where it Begins

The road trip began in June in New York where Gabby is from. The couple was set to go through Colorado, Kansas, Utah, Wyoming, and end in Florida. This can be complicated over who has jurisdiction over the missing-persons case. North Port police Chief Todd Garrison gave a quote, saying it’s a “multi-jurisdictional case.”

In addition to Gabby’s ongoing case, the Moab Police Department are also investigating a double homicide that has taken place in Grand County, which is near the area where Gabby and Brian had an altercation which led to the involvement of the police. It also near where Gabby’s remains were most recently found. The FBI decided to step in and worked together with law enforcement in the Wyoming Teton National Park, which was where they ended up finding her on Sunday. The couple was still in the National Park when Gabby last spoke with her mother on August 25th.

The Police Report and Body Cam

Body cam footage was released by the Moab Police Department, showing the altercation between Gabby and Brian that resulted in law enforcement intervention in the National Forest. It is an hour and 17 minutes long and shows police questioning both Gabby and Brian about the argument. Gabby’s cousin later came forward and insisted she had never seen her look so stressed out. 

The video shows Gabby crying while trying to explain that Brian would not let her enter the car until she calmed down. She said that she had severe anxiety and couldn’t remain calm. There was indication that Brian shoved Gabby, but police concluded it was out of defense after she had both slapped and scratched him. Gabby was identified as the primary aggressor and almost charged for domestic abuse, but police finally determined it was more of an emotional break than domestic assault and let the couple go. Now that Gabby’s body was found not far away from the confrontation, it raises many questions. Most importantly, what happened? And where is Brian Laundrie now?

Now more than ever, North Port police department believe that Brian Laundrie is hiding something or withholding important information about the case. In an interview with CNN, Chief Garrison stated that he thought Brian and his family were holding back vital information that could help with the case. At the end of the interview Chief Garrison announced that Laundrie was the only confirmed person of interest in the case. Before law enforcement found Gabby’s remains, Laundrie’s sister came forward and spoke in an TV interview, saying that she hoped that Gabby would be found safe. Authorities were finally able to speak to his parents, and they admitted that they had not seen Brian since he left their house on September 14th. He was last seen taking his backpack and going out for a walk in the nearby reserve. Now that Gabby’s body has been located, Brian’s sudden disappearance obviously adds more stress to the case, and makes it seem like all of the accusations are true.

Timeline of Gabby’s Last Whereabouts: June – September

Here is a brief overview and timeline of Gabby’s whereabouts since leaving her North Port, Florida home:

  • June
    • When Gabby and Laundrie originally embarked on their road trip together.
    • Gabby’s parents kept in contact with her on a regular basis.
    • She seemed excited to be going on the trip with Laundrie in their white Ford van.
  • August
    • When the couple reached Moab, Utah, they got into a heated argument. The police were called onto the scene after people witnessed Gabby slapping Brian.
    • Descriptions had been made about the couple’s argument turning physical, yet when police got involved said they didn’t want any charges to be filed. Police let them leave without any charges.
    • In the last week of August, Gabby’s parents heard from her for the last time on the 30th. However, after they reported her missing, both parents felt as if it wasn’t Gabby that was texting them.
  • September
    • Laundrie returned to his family home in Florida on the 1st of September, with the white Ford van but without Gabby.
    • Gabby’s parents were not able to get in contact with her after almost two weeks, and since they live in New York they decided to reach out to the Suffolk County Police Department in New York.
    • The North Port police went to Laundrie’s home to question him and his family but were immediately handed the information of their attorney.
    • Gabby’s family attorney gave a news briefing calling on Laundrie or his family with helpful information for the case. He said if they had any decency left, they would help with the investigation or let them know where Gabby was.
    • The Moab Police Department released the footage from Gabby and Brian’s altercation.
    • Cassie Laundrie, Brian’s sister, spoke with Good Morning America and said she hopes Gabby will return home safely.
    • Brian Laundrie’s family came forward to the police to say they hadn’t seen him since September 14th. He had left his home with his backpack and claimed he was going into the Carlton Reserve.
    • Investigators found remains of a body in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest, that they believe may be the remains of Gabby Petito.
    • The FBI go searching the Laundrie household out to search for Brian Laundrie or anything to do with Gabby’s disappearance. His parents are brought in for questioning.
    • The human remains have been taken into the autopsy. The body had yet to be identified.
    • On Tuesday, September 21st, authorities release the information that the human remains found are those of Gabby Petito. Brian Laundrie is still nowhere to be found, and police continue to search for him.

Demand for Justice

Protestors have been gathering outside of Laundrie’s family home demanding justice for Gabby. People were originally seen driving by in golf carts with signs that read “Where is Gabby?” and “Speak up.” The Laundrie family is still not providing any information on their son’s whereabouts. As of now the search for Brian Laundrie continues, in hopes of bringing justice for Gabby Petito and her grieving family. Gabby’s parents have stated that do not wish to make any comments at this time.

This article was written by Karissa Key

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