Update: As of September 18, authorities have come forward to say that they don’t believe Gabby Petito’s disappearance and the double homicide are linked.
As the story of missing 22-year-old Gabby Petito begins to frequent headlines across the mainstream media, it first began to viral on TikTok. Close friends of Petito began using the platform to bring awareness to the fact that the 22-year-old hasn’t been heard from in days.
Nikki Passannante, who says Petito was like a cousin to her, created her first TikTok regarding the disappearance of Gabby Petito two days ago. “I’m coming here in low spirits to try and spread the story of Gabby Petito’s disappearance. I want it to go as far as it can go, across as many states as possible in order to bring her home safely.”
As Passannante continued, she described Gabby Petito as a “beautiful, blonde, 5-foot-5 girl, who is maybe 110 pounds. She has a ‘Let it be’ tattoo on her right arm and a triangle tattoo with flowers on her left. She is the sweetest girl you would ever meet.”
According to Petito’s friend and several other reports, Petito was traveling around the United States with her fiancé, visiting its many National Parks in her white Ford Transit Van. Gabby Petito and her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, first began dating in March 2019 before getting engaged in July 2020.
The couple had plans to document their #VanLife journey on YouTube as well:
As The New York Times reports, Petito and Laundrie began their domestic travels on July 2. They have used the hashtag “Vanlife” to document their journey.
According to Gabby Petito’s stepfather, Jim Schmidt, the trip was supposed to last four months. And a lot of work went into planning this trip, which included turning the van into a quaint living space.
“After going on our first road trip across the country in my tiny car, we felt like there was just so much we missed,” Gabby said in one of her posts. “Turning this Ford transit essentially into a camper was such an adventure in itself, but I couldn’t love the way it turned out more! All the places it’s brought us so far have been amazing!”
Passannante revealed that the last time Petito’s father talked to Gabby was on August 24. During that phone call, Gabby told her dad that she was at a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Due to the recent Hurricane, the power was out and she told her father that she was hungry. After the phone call, the dad sent his daughter a pizza.
“From everything we saw in the photos and the videos and when we spoke to her, they were having the time of their lives,” Schmidt told The New York Times.
On August 25, Gabby made a phone call to her mother from Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, saying that they were about to head to Yellow Stone National Park. According to Passannante, this was the last time anyone in Gabby’s family had a verbal conversation with her.
But before these phone calls, both Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie had a run-in with the police.
As The New York Times reports, Moab, Utah police reported that on August 12 they responded to reports of a “domestic problem.” The police report revealed that an argument between Brian and Gabby resulted in Brian telling Gabby to “take a walk and calm down.”
The police report continued to say that both Brian and Gabby told the authorities that “they were in love and engaged to be married and ‘desperately didn’t wish to see anyone charged with a crime.’” Brian added that “issues between the two had been building over the last few days.”
The couple was also allegedly quick to call the argument between them a “mental/emotional health ‘break,’” not a “domestic assault.” Police then thought it would be best for Gabby and Brian to take a night apart from each other.
Body Cam Footage of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie During That Conversation with Police Has Been Released:
It’s hard to hear exactly what Gabby Petito was telling the officer, but she did mention her OCD and that she was attempting to tidy the van before leaving when something obviously made her upset.
Authorities then found Brian a hotel to stay at while Gabby kept the van, NYT reports. No charges were filed. Although it’s unclear when the photos were taken, pictures of Brian and Gabby together in the van were posted to social media after August 12.
There was even a post made on the same day they spoke with police:
“We are not sure if she ever made it to Yellowstone,” Passannante further admitted on her TikTok. The friend then revealed the last Instagram post Gabby Petito made.
Dated the same day she called her mother, Gabby shared a photo of herself holding a knitted pumpkin in front of the Migrating Monarch Mural in Ogden, Utah. Petito captioned the photos, “Happy Halloween,” which Passannante admitted was odd.
As Passannante admitted, short captions without any meaning weren’t really Gabby’s thing. Her Instagram is filled with long, profound statements that more often than not had a point.
The friend admitted that it didn’t feel like Gabby posted her last post herself. Although you can’t see either of their faces, on August 19, Gabby Petito posted a photo of her and Brian sitting in their van.
This caption revealed her disappointment while watching a man dump “his processed pre-packaged plastic conglomerate of lunch garbage on the picnic table!” Brian’s last post was made on August 13, showing him standing on a large rock in Moab, Utah.
“Humans are primates, great apes in fact but I don’t know all how great we are as a species,” wrote, in part, in his last post.
As Passannante continued, “A few text messages were sent sporadically from Gabby’s phone to her mother between August 25 and August 30. But her mom isn’t sure it was her who sent those text messages. After August 30, her parents were able to get in contact with Gabby or her fiancé. Her fiancé’s mother also wasn’t responding to any phone calls.”
It was at that point that Gabby Petito’s parents tried to file a missing person report. Due to an issue, the report was never officially filed until September 11.
The night of September 11, police pulled over Gabby’s white van in Florida. Gabby and Brian lived in Florida when they weren’t traveling.
“Brian was driving the van,” Passannante revealed. “Gabby was not inside. Brian immediately requested a lawyer and did not cooperate any further.”
As Passannante admitted, “obviously there is a lot to speculate, but this is all still part of an ongoing investigation. The main focus is finding Gabby and bringing her home.”
Now, Brian is a person of interest.
On September 15, police involved in the investigation have publicly named Laundrie a person of interest because he was the last known person to have been with Gabby Petito before she went missing. According to The New York Times, Laundrie first returned home to Florida, in the van that is registered in Gabby’s name on September 1.
It’s believed that Laundrie never reported Gabby missing and it remains unclear the last time Laundrie say his fiancée. And while he is considered a person of interest, Brian has not been arrested nor has he been declared a suspect.
Josh Taylor, a spokesman for the Florida police department, says they are working with the F.B.I. to find Gabby and that the van has since been processed for evidence. “We don’t know what Brian knows,” Taylor told the media. “That’s the bottom line, and we’re hopeful to talk to him. He needs to talk to us.”
According to Gabby’s step-father, Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito met in high school but didn’t start dating until after. They moved to Florida from Long Island two years ago.
Why is Gabby Petito’s disappearance now being associated with a double homicide?
According to People, the argument between Gabby and Brian that resulted in police assistance occurred just outside a good cooperative called Moonflower. Reports state that Moonflower employees a 24-year-old woman named Kylen Schulte.
Schulte was married to 38-year-old Crystal Turner. Both Turner and Schulte were found dead and partially dressed with gunshot wounds.
Schulte and Turner were last seen on August 13 at Woody’s Tavern in Moab, Utah. According to Fox News, a spokesperson said “We’re looking at everything, I mean, anything and everything that was suspicious around that time or we’re not ruling anything out at this time. So, we’re just investigating the information as it comes in.”
Sara Vallone has been a writer and editor for the last four and a half years. A graduate of Ohio University, she enjoys celebrity news, sports, and articles that enhance people’s lives.
- 1 The couple had plans to document their #VanLife journey on YouTube as well:
- 2 But before these phone calls, both Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie had a run-in with the police.
- 3 Body Cam Footage of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie During That Conversation with Police Has Been Released:
- 4 There was even a post made on the same day they spoke with police:
- 5 Now, Brian is a person of interest.
- 6 Why is Gabby Petito’s disappearance now being associated with a double homicide?
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