Missing Person Case: Gabby Petito

By Gabryela Reynoso, Sept. 23, 2021

SAN JOSE, CALIF, Law enforcement and Americans scramble to find Gabby Petito and conclude what happened to her. 

On Sept. 11, the family of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito reported the 22-year-old missing to the police after countless days of not hearing any form of communication from her. Her fiance, Brian Laudrie, allegedly drove back to their home in North Port with their van after a long road trip, but Petito was not with him. Petito’s family recalls Aug. 30, as the last form of communication Petito had with them. “Her family said that final message was ‘not normal behavior’ for Petito and became more worried about her, according to police.” (Eyewitness News) The Petito family remained unaware and worried of Gabby’s whereabouts and wellbeing. 

On Sept. 15, Laundrie was deemed a person of interest, while their van was processed for evidence. As for an interview, Laundrie continued to stay silent throughout the investigation. According to Eyewitness news, “Laundrie has not made himself available to be interviewed by investigators or provided any helpful details.” His lawyer later made a statement clarifying Laundrie’s silence throughout the ongoing events. 

On Sept. 16, Petito’s father spoke at a press conference in North Port addressing Laundrie’s silence and pleading for Petito’s safe return. Their attorney, Richard Stafford, then read a letter to Laundrie’s parents begging for Laundrie to address Petito’s disappearance. One Silver Creek student, Ashley Nguyen, reflects on the story as, “a tragic and eerie story that we will look back on for a while. It also shines light on bringing more attention to cases like this in the future, including indigeanous women and people of color.”

Soon after, on Sept. 17, Laundrie was pronounced missing by his family, they stated that they had not been in contact with him since Tuesday. Now both Laundrie and Petito were deemed as missing persons. The Petito’s attorney later addressed Laundrie’s disappearance announcing, “All of Gabby’s family want the world to know that Brian is not missing, he is hiding. Gabby is missing.”

In the continuation of the search for Petito, on Sept. 19, law enforcement discovered a body in Wyoming that they suspected to be Petito. They later confirmed this statement to be true, while her family went on social media to pay tribute to Petito. An autopsy is currently in progress to determine Petito’s cause of death. As for what locals in San Jose think about the situation, the words “tragic” and “sad” are often used, while most locals hope that “justice is served for Petito and her family.”

Sources:News, Eyewitness. “Gabby Petito Timeline: Everything We Know about Her Disappearance.” ABC7 New York, WABC-TV, 23 Sept. 2021, 
Photos from Gabby Petito’s Instagram (left: 07/17/21, right: 08/25/21)

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