The travel influencer’s case has captured nationwide attention.
The search for Gabby Petito has come to a tragic end. Coroner Dr. Brent Blue officially ruled her death as a homicide and revealed that she died by strangulation. Speaking at a press conference, Blue estimated that Petito’s body was left in the wilderness for at least three to four weeks before her remains were found near a campground in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest.
The 22-year-old captured nationwide attention after she went missing while on a road trip with her fiancé Brian Laundrie, who later disappeared after being named a person of interest. Petito’s parents traveled to Wyoming to bring her remains back to New York. This comes after the family held a public funeral for their daughter, where they asked mourners not to be sad but rather inspired by her life.
“I want you to take a look at these pictures, and I want you to be inspired by Gabby,” her father, Joe Petito, said. “If there’s a trip you guys want to take, take it now. Do it now while you have the time. If there is a relationship that you’re in that might not be the best thing for you, leave it now.”
Since then, authorities have made progress in their weeks-long search for Laundrie, with a break in the case coming from his parents — details below.
Where is Petito’s fiancé Brian Laundrie?
The FBI confirmed that the human remains found in a park near Carlton reserve belong to Laundrie. “A comparison of dental records confirmed that the human remains found at the T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park are those of Brian Laundrie,” the agency said.
This came after Laundrie’s parents directed FBI agents and North Port police to an area where some of Laundrie’s personal items, including a notebook and backpack, had been found.
Authorities had been conducting a manhunt for Laundrie, who went missing after he returned to North Port, Fla. in the couple’s shared van alone. He subsequently faced an arrest warrant for allegedly using “one or more unauthorized access devices,” including a Capitol One Bank debit card and personal identification numbers for two accounts.
What happened to Gabby Petito?
Petito was traveling a van with Laundrie leading up to her death and the close living quarters appeared to put a strain on the relationship.
Bodycam footage revealed on October 1 has revealed what Gabby told police about a domestic dispute with Laundrie while crossing Utah in August. A witness described the couple before police arrived on August 12 as “sort of squabbling over a phone” and hitting each other “kind of like two kids fighting.”
Police became involved with the couple following a 911 call from a witness, audio of which has been provided by the Grand County Sheriff’s Office. “We drove by and the gentleman was slapping the girl,” the caller said. “Then we stopped. They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off.”
The bodycam footage includes more details of the conversation between Gabby and the officers who then stopped their van. The 52-minute video shows Gabby stressing that she had hit Laundrie first, after he “kept telling me to shut up.” Gabby then tells the officer, who asks repeatedly whether Laundrie hit her, “Well, he like grabbed my face, like, I guess… He didn’t like, hit me in the face. He didn’t, like, punch me in the face or anything.”
She then pleaded with the officer not to separate her from Laundrie, saying “it’s going to give me so much anxiety,” and offering to pay “any ticket” instead. But, ultimately, neither wanted to press charges and agreed to separate for the night.
Who is Gabby Petito?
The travel influencer had been working as a Florida pharmacy technician to save money for the months-long trip. She met Laundrie at Bayport-Blue Point High School in Long Island, New York, and she is the oldest of six children. After her body was found, Petito’s family shared heartbreaking tributes, with her brother posting that his “heart is shattered.”
When was she last heard from?
Petito hadn’t been seen or heard from since Aug. 25, when she last Facetimed her mother. But a new search warrant revealed that Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, described receiving an “odd” text from her daughter’s phone on Aug. 27 that left her fearing for the worst. Setting off her road trip with Laundrie on July 2, the couple had been visiting national parks, and documenting their travels across social media using the hashtag #vanlife.