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Minggu, 19 September 2021

Gabby Petito mystery no clearer after body found, with fiance still missing - ABC News

On her Instagram and YouTube pages, Gabby Petito seemed to be on the adventure of a lifetime.

Embracing the "van life" subculture, the Florida 22-year-old quit her job and set off on a cross-country adventure with fiancé Brian Laundrie to some of the most spectacular natural wonders in the United States.

But the social media posts of rolling vistas, sunsets and adventures belied the tragedy that was fast approaching. 

Gabby Petito poses on a cliff
Gabby Petito's Instagram is full of posts documenting the trip.(

Instagram: GabsPetito

)

Just weeks after they posted a video titled "beginning our van life journey" online, Mr Laundrie appeared in Florida, thousands of kilometres away from where he was last with Ms Petito.

He didn't engage with police and wouldn't say where she was, even after a missing person report was filed.

Now, a body matching Ms Petito's description has been found in the state of Wyoming and Mr Laundrie has also disappeared.

It's left authorities trying to figure out how this grand adventure looks likely to have left a young woman dead and her partner missing in suspicious circumstances.

Gabby Petito planned journey from NY to Oregon

It began with a Ford Transit van, done up as a makeshift home.

In it, Ms Petito and Mr Laundrie left Long Island in New York, beginning their journey west in July.

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie in a tent.
Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie intended to road trip across the US.(

YouTube: Nomadic Statik

)

The goal had been to reach Oregon by the end of October, winding through national parks in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming along the way. 

For weeks the nomadic couple each shared their adventures on the deserts, plains and rivers of US national parks on social media.

But the happy Instagram snaps didn't tell the full story.

On August 12, police in Utah pulled over the Ford Transit, after it veered off course and hit a bump on the side of the road.

Inside they found an upset Ms Petito, and Mr Laundrie with scratches on his face. 

Gabby Petito stands near a police vehicle talking to an office in police bodycam footage.
Gabby Petito was upset when police found her on August 12.(

Reuters: MOAB police departrment

)

"We've just been fighting this morning, some personal issues," bodycam video shows Ms Petito tell police. 

Separated from each other, both played down the seriousness of their fight, and Mr Laundrie told officers he sustained his injury after Ms Petito made contact during a scuffle.

The police decided no charges needed to be pursued, but insisted the pair remain separated for the night, with Laundrie checking into a motel and Ms Petito remaining in their van.

Brian Laundrie seen standing by a police vehicle after him and Gabby Petito were pulled over.
Police noticed scratches on Brian Laundrie's face when he was pulled over.(

AP: The Moab Police Department

)

Officers deemed the incident minor, but just weeks later police were involved with the couple again.

Only this time, Gabby Petito was missing.

'No service in Yosemite'

The last contact Ms Petito's mother received from her daughter's phone was a text on August 30, which indicated Gabby would not be contactable for a while: "No service in Yosemite."

Yosemite national park is in California, two states away from where Ms Petito was believed to be at the time.

An FBI missing person poster with details of Gabrielle Petito.
Gabby Petito was reported missing on September 11.(

Supplied: FBI

)

If the message was sent with the intent of allaying her family's concerns, it did the opposite.

"[The family] don't believe that message was sent from Gabby," the family's lawyer, Rick Stafford, said.

Two days after the text was sent, Brian Laundrie arrived home in Florida in the van, with no sign of Ms Petito.

Mr Stafford said Ms Petito's family reached out to Mr Laundrie in the following days, but failed to get any answers to their questions.

"The Laundries refused to answer those, they stayed silent," he said.

On September 11, Ms Petito's family filed a missing person report.

But Mr Laundrie refused to cooperate with police and hired a lawyer.

"Brian has not made himself available to be interviewed by investigators [or provided] any helpful details," the police department in North Port said after the missing person report was filed.

Days later, the family of Mr Laundrie agreed to speak with police, but the subject of their conversation was not what was expected — he was now missing, too.

His disappearance sparked a second large-scale search of wilderness, this time in Carlton Reserve, Florida.

Police were at pains to point out that while Mr Laundrie was a person of interest, not wanted for any crime.

They said they were treating what had happened as a dual missing person case.

But a grim discovery thousands of kilometres from the search for Mr Laundrie has changed the investigation.

A police command post in dense bushland.
Police are searching Florida's Carlton Reserve for Brian Laundrie.(

Supplied: North Port police department

)

'She touched the world'

Overnight Australian time, the FBI confirmed authorities found a body believed to be Gabby Petito near a campground in Wyoming.

A US Park Ranger car.
A body was found in Wyoming in the search for Ms Petito.(

AP: Amber Baesler

)

"Full forensic identification has not been completed to confirm 100 per cent that we found Gabby, but her family has been notified of this discovery," the FBI's Charles Jones said.

Investigators haven't determined how she died.

It's left police searching for answers and her family desperate for more information.

But with Mr Laundrie still missing, there are few answers for Ms Petito's family to find. 

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Posting soon after the news of the discovery, her father John Petito shared an image of Gabby against a winged backdrop.

"She touched the world," he wrote.

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https://news.google.com/__i/rss/rd/articles/CBMiaGh0dHBzOi8vd3d3LmFiYy5uZXQuYXUvbmV3cy8yMDIxLTA5LTIwL2dhYmJ5LXBldGl0by1icmlhbi1sYXVuZHJpZS1taXNzaW5nLXdvbWFuLWZiaS1ib2R5LWZvdWQvMTAwNDc1ODIy0gEoaHR0cHM6Ly9hbXAuYWJjLm5ldC5hdS9hcnRpY2xlLzEwMDQ3NTgyMg?oc=5

2021-09-20 04:25:24Z
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