The Disappearance of Gabby Petito


Ashley Ragone

A twenty two year old woman and her boyfriend go on a cross-country trip in a van to see national parks and document their journey on social media. Three months later, she was found dead; and her partner is still missing. So what events transpired over the course of this trip, and why is no one able to find this man who could have been involved with her death? This is the story of Gabby Petito.

Gabby Petito and her fiance, Brian Laundrie, started their trip in June of this year, with Petito having a sizable following on Instagram, sharing photos and videos throughout their trip on the platform. All seemed well until August 12, 2021 when police in Utah pulled them over and separated them to talk individually. Petito is seen crying and clearly upset in video taken from body cameras on the officers after an argument, although according to one of the police on the scene he states “After evaluating the totality of the circumstances, I do not believe the situation escalated to the level of a domestic assault as much as that of a mental health crisis.” This conclusion has been criticized by many, some believing that the continuation of domestic violence could have been prevented if they took cautionary measures rather than letting them drive off. On September 1st Laundrie returned home to Florida, and Gabby was reported missing on September 11th, her family begging for help finding her but getting no answer. By the end of September, human remains were recovered and confirmed to be Gabby Petito, and Brian Laundrie’s remains were not discovered until the end of October. Police suggested that Laundrie was able to evade the police for so long due to his ability to hide in the large areas of swampland in Florida, close to where he lived. Josh Taylor, a spokesperson for the North Port police has said that the area is “…muddy, it’s wet, there are a few unpaved dirt roads that are out there basically running along the power lines.” It also took time to find his remains and some items that belonged to him such as a backpack due to the water levels that could have kept him hidden for a significant amount of time. However, with the extensive amount of research and time put into this case, there is still so much to be found and information to be recovered. There is very little information regarding what exactly happened to Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie, and their last days have brought to light how important it is to protect people from domestic violence and how police can improve their conclusions.