Gabby Petito: What Happened?
Updated: Oct 14, 2021
An Overview Of The Gabby Petito Case
Before involuntarily finding herself at the epicenter of an obsessive nationwide search, 22-year old influencer Gabby Petito spent her time traveling across the globe. She documented her travels on various social media channels, with Instagram being the most prolific.
Her account features photographs typical for the average travel account, with aesthetic-heavy selfies in front of monuments, milky polaroids, and neon lights. Gabby’s family describes her as an enthusiastic, beautiful young girl. A person that lights up the room.
So when her social media pages went oddly silent towards the end of August, and her family couldn’t get in touch with her, alarm bells started ringing and red flags were raised. It was unlike Gabby to ignore calls. It was even more unlike her not to update her social media pages. Her family reported her as missing to the police, who went ahead with an investigation.
Due to the odd nature of her disappearance as well as her online presence, speculation spread rapidly, elevated by the conspiratorial, bizarre element of the case. It seemed there were new headlines every day, new snatches of evidence that seemed to crop up, new questions without answers.
At the time of her disappearance, Gabby was traveling, as she had been for several months prior, with her fiancé Brian Laundrie. Brian is a Long Island native who met Gabby in high school.
Brian proposed last summer in July when the couple was 21 and 22, with Gabby commemorating the moment on an Instagram post that has since been deleted. Insider was able to archive the post, which read: Brian asked me to marry him and I said yes! @bizarre_design_ you make life feel unreal, and every day is such a dream with you!
Despite the glittering veneer of a healthy, bombastic relationship, one common thread among everything that has come forward since the investigation began, has been the sizable tension between the couple. This burgeoning strain was obvious to those around them. A close friend even told the Daily Mail, “I do believe that their relationship as they kept going on was getting more problematic. It just seemed like there were more and more arguments.”
A couple of weeks before Gabby would be listed as a missing person, a video, which has since gone viral, was released and spread across various news outlets originating from a bodycam video taken by a police officer. After a caller reported an incident in which a man was seen hitting a girl before both of them driving off in a van, officers were able to identify the couple as Gabby and Brian and pulled them over to check-in.
In the video, which has recently been released in its entirety, Gabby is very obviously distressed, crying for nearly the entire time as she and Brian are questions. A small fight was revealed by the couple, a result, they claimed, of the months they had spent together traveling across the country. This admission further resulted in police separating the couple for the night to cool down.
It was revealed by a friend of Gabby’s, a few days into the search, that Brian suffered from what she described as “episodes” in which he couldn’t sleep and heard voices. This piece of information coincides with earlier police bodycam footage in which Brian reveals that neither Gabby nor himself took medication for their mental health issues, though the issues were present.
While no official diagnosis has been made or revealed, and if the comments made by Gabby’s friend are to be taken at face value, it is likely that Brian had a psychotic spectrum disorder, in which hallucinations and delusions are the most common symptoms. This reveal has led to even more possibilities regarding the case to which there was seemingly no end until a few days ago.
Gabby’s last known location was assumed to be somewhere in Grand Teton National Park located in Wyoming. On September 22, the case took a tragic, though unsurprising turn when remains found in Teton County in Wyoming were confirmed to be those of Gabby. A funeral was held in New York following this news.
An autopsy, while not fully released to the public yet, was done and revealed that the cause of death was in fact homicide.
Brian has yet to be found, despite tremendous and long-lasting efforts by both authorities and the public.
Her last post on Instagram was a series of photographs in which she can be seen wearing a flagrant beige skirt, frilled black top, and silver necklace as she poses in front of a mural. Sunlight beams down as she smiles and looks off into the distance. Behind her, a couple of vast, painted monarch butterflies float, suspended in a sea of black and white polka dots. She looks content and carefree. She looks like she has wings.