Timeline of Gabby Petito’s Road Trip, Death, and Fiancé Going Missing

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  • Gabby Petito’ was strangled to death, the Teton County, Wyoming, coroner determined.
  • The 22-year-old went on a road trip with her fiancé in July and was reported missing September 11.
  • Remains were found in a Florida preserve near where fiancé Brian Laundrie went missing after her death.
  • Visit Insider’s homepage for more stories.

Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old from New York who went missing during a cross-country road trip with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, died by strangulation, the coroner in Teton County, Wyoming, determined.

Petito, who was from Blue Point, New York, was reported missing on September 11 by her mother after she last made contact with her in late August. Before her disappearance, Petito had meticulously documented her and Laundrie’s van road trip across the US on social media.

Laundrie, who has since gone missing, is a person of interest in the case, according to police. The FBI said on Wednesday that apparent human remains were found in an area where he was believed to be missing, but hadn’t yet determined if they were him.

We’ve constructed a timeline of where and when Petito was based on her social media posts, comments from hers and Laundrie’s families, and official statements from authorities.

Petito and Laundrie started dating in 2019 and lived together in Florida

Gabby Petito and fiance Brian Laundrie

 

Gabby Petito and fiance Brian Laundrie.

Courtesy of the Schmidt and Petito family

Petito and Laundrie moved to North Port, Florida, two years ago, according to the Daily Mail.

They had been dating since March 2019 and got engaged in July 2020, according to posts on both Petito’s and Laundrie’s Instagram accounts.

She wrote: “Brian asked me to marry him and I said yes! @bizarre_design_ you make life feel unreal, and
everyday is such a dream with you 🤍.”

And he wrote: “My biggest fear is that one day I’ll wake up and it will have all been a dream, because that is what every second has felt like since the moment we found each other. Till death do us part or until I wake up, I’m so happy the answer was yes, Love you hunny.”

The couple embarked on a cross-country road trip in their 2012 Ford Transit van on July 2

The couple departed from Blue Point, New York, Petito’s mother Nichole Schmidt told local NBC affiliate KSL.

Petito and Laundrie had been in Blue Point, Petito’s hometown, for Petito’s brother’s graduation ceremony on June 17, according to the Daily Mail.

“She wanted to cross the country in the camper van and live the van life and live free. This was her dream,” Schmidt told KSL.

The trip was expected to conclude in October in Oregon, Schmidt told CBS New York.

Petito’s first Instagram photo documenting the trip was posted from Kansas on July 4

The picture showed Petito posing between a rock formation at Monument Rocks Natural Landmark in Gove County, Kansas.

A post shared by Gabby (@gabspetito)

Laundrie also posted his first Instagram photos from the trip that day, showing their van.

A post shared by Brian Laundrie (@bizarre_design_)

On July 8, 10, and 11, Petito posted photos from Colorado

Petito next posted to Instagram on July 8 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Two days later, she updated her followers, posting a photo in southern Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park and Preserve.

A post shared by Gabby (@gabspetito)

“After going on our first road trip across the country in my tiny car, we felt like there was just so much we missed,” Petito said. “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!”

Petito posted several photos from Great Sand Dunes later that day and again on July 11.

On July 16 and 18, Petito posted her and Laundrie camping at Zion National Park in Utah

She resurfaced on Instagram on July 16 from Zion National Park in Utah. In the post, she said she and Laundrie had spent the previous two nights camping in the park.

“We hiked up here in about 100° and it was so nice coming back to our campsite, watching the sky fill with dark clouds, and view the lightning storm in the nice cool air of the light rain,” she wrote.

On July 18, Petito posted photos showing their campsite in Zion.

The photos showed the couple’s tent, which was decked out with throw pillows, a blanket, a small guitar, and artwork of the national park created in the style of Vincent van Gogh’s “The Starry Night.”

A post shared by Gabby (@gabspetito)

Also on July 18, Petito posted photos of her and Laundrie from The Narrows at Zion, including one of them embracing

A post shared by Gabby (@gabspetito)

On July 21, Petito posted from Bryce Canyon National Park in Utah

Bryce Canyon is about 72 miles northeast from Zion — about a 1 hour and 20-minute drive, according to Google Maps.

A post shared by Gabby (@gabspetito)

In a July 22 post from Bryce Canyon, Petito said it had rained every night she and Laundrie had camped in national parks.

“Rain sounds like a negative thing when camping, but after coming back from a strenuous long hike in the sun with no shade for miles, it’s nice to lay listening to the cold rain hit your tent and fight (Laundrie) for the blanket,” she wrote.

On July 26, Petito posted a series of photos from Mystic Hot Springs in Monroe, Utah

In one of the photos, Petito showed her and Laundrie kissing in the hot spring.

A post shared by Gabby (@gabspetito)

Another four days passed before Petito updated her Instagram followers. This time, Petito posted from Canyonlands National Park in southeastern Utah. In the post, Petito said that Laundrie hiked barefoot while on the trip.

“If it were up to him, he wouldn’t own any shoes! But I just find it funny how many people comment on the fact that he is barefoot,” she wrote.

“(Laundrie) inspires me everyday on living a more natural lifestyle! Building my feet up so I don’t have to bring my shoes ‘in case,'” she added.

She posted another photo from Canyonlands on July 31 before a 12-day absence from Instagram

She posted a photo on August 12 at Arches National Park in Grand County, Utah.

“On a calm Monday morning, (Laundrie) and I decided to take the highly trafficked hike to the Delicate Arch,” Petito wrote. “Not sure if it’s because it was 7 a.m. on a Monday, but there actually were not as many people on the trail as I expected.”

Petito and Laundrie can be seen seated at the bottom of the Arch, kissing, in one of the photos.

A post shared by Gabby (@gabspetito)

The same day, she posted another series of photos from the same location.

On August 12, Petito and Laundrie got into a physical fight in Utah

Officers from the Moab Police Department responded to a potential domestic violence incident between Petito and Laundrie on August 12 after a man identified as Christopher contacted police.

The responding Officer Daniel Scott Robbins followed the van and eventually moved to pull it over, noting that the van was traveling 45 mph in a 15 mph zone, according to the police report. Then, the officer observed the van cross a double yellow line, switch lanes, and swerve to the right, colliding with the curb.

When Robbins approached the van, he found Petito crying in the passenger seat. He wrote in the report that she cried and breathed heavily during their conversation. She told the officer she had been arguing with Laundrie and that she was struggling with her mental health.

Laundrie also told the officer of an “emotional strain” and ongoing arguments between her and Petito. According to the police report, Laundrie said Petito struck him when she thought he was going to drive away in their van following an argument.

“After evaluating the totality of the circumstances, I do not believe the situation escalated to the level of domestic assault as much of that as a mental health crisis,” Robbins wrote.

Robbins noted that Petito appeared to be in a “confused and emotional state.” He wrote that he recommended Laundrie and Petito remain separated for the night to “relax” and spend time apart. While they both expressed they didn’t want to separate, Robbins wrote, Petito kept the van while Laundrie checked into a hotel for the evening.

Another officer — Eric Pratt — noted that Laundrie and Petito “reported they are in love and engaged to be married and desperately didn’t wish to see anyone charged with a crime.” Pratt said both Petito and Laundrie told him that she suffered from “serious anxiety.”

Police bodycam footage from that day showed Petito distraught and crying talking to officers. Another video from the same day showed Petito telling officers that Laundrie scratched and grabbed her face.

In a 911 call about the same incident, a witness can be heard telling dispatchers with the Grand County Sheriff’s Office that he saw a man “slapping the girl.”

And according to a second police body-camera video the Moab Police Department released, Petito said Laundrie had grabbed and scratched her face.

The city of Moab, Utah, has launched an investigation into the police department’s handling of the incident.

Laundrie’s last Instagram post was on August 13

 

Laundrie, who had also been posting photos of the road trip on Instagram, ceased posting to Instagram a day after the police incident.

A post shared by Brian Laundrie (@bizarre_design_)

Laundrie flew from Salt Lake City to Tampa on August 17

Laundrie went to Florida “to obtain some items and empty and close” a “storage unit to save money as they contemplated extending the road trip,” the Laundrie family attorney, Steven Bertolino, told Insider.

Bertolino said he didn’t know what was inside the storage unit.

The couple launched a YouTube channel called ‘Nomadic Static’ on August 19

The channel was created in November 2013 but contains just one video, uploaded on August 19. It is registered with an email address belonging to Petito.

The eight-minute video is set to music and features a montage of their trip across the US.

The video also shows several clips of Petito talking to the camera about the trip, including one clip where she talks about heavy rain she experienced. In another clip, Petito puts together a container of yogurt, granola, chocolate, and blueberries with Laundrie in the background.

In that clip, Petito is wearing the same blue tank top and black shorts as she is in her July 30 and 31 photos from Canyonlands.

The video also features a clip of the couple appearing on screen together with Laundrie talking about setting up his hammock on trees in the park.

Also on August 19, Petito Instagram photos showing the interior and exterior of the couple’s Ford van. In the post, Petito said she saw a man leave behind plastic trash on a picnic table. Unlike her previous posts, there was no location attached to the photo.

Petito’s father said he placed an Uber Eats for his daughter on August 21 when she was in Salt Lake City

“There was a power outage. She said she didn’t have WiFi, so I ordered her some food,” Joseph Petito told KSL. “I know it was in Salt Lake City. It was the last time I spoke to her.”

On August 23, Laundrie returned to Salt Lake City, his lawyer said

Bertolino said he believed the flight was paid for out of Petito and Laundrie’s joint finances.

Petito’s parents said the couple left Salt Lake City on August 24

Both of Petito’s parents said the couple departed Salt Lake City for Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming three days later, on August 24, where they believe they spent about two days, they told KSL.

Schmidt said she last spoke to Petito when she received a FaceTime call from her on August 24 as she and Laundrie departed Salt Lake City.

Prior to her disappearance, Petito would FaceTime with her mother about three times a week while on the trip, Schmidt told CBS New York.

Petito posted to Instagram for the final time on August 25

A post shared by Gabby (@gabspetito)

The photo showed her smiling and holding a small crocheted pumpkin with the caption “Happy Halloween.”

Like her second-to-last post, the August 25 Instagram post didn’t include any location information.

The photos, however, appeared to be captured in front of a mural featuring monarch butterflies titled “Monarch in Moda” that artist Jane Kim painted at The Monarch, an “artistic hub” in Ogden, Utah, which is about a 45-minute drive from Salt Lake City.

Petito died sometime between August 22-29

Teton County, Wyoming, coroner Dr. Brent Blue said their “initial determination” was that Petito died three to four weeks before her body was found on September 19, putting her death in this range.

Her family received texts from Petito’s phone until August 30

Schmidt said that Petito last texted her about losing cell service in Yosemite on August 30, but said she didn’t believe the message was from her daughter.

Petito said she was heading toward Yellowstone National Park, Schmidt added.

“She seemed OK to me at the time, other than I don’t know where the relationship was going with the boyfriend,” Schmidt told KSL.

Gabby Petito

 

Gabby Petito in an undated photo.

Courtesy of Schmidt and Petito family

Her mother reported Petito missing on September 11

The Suffolk County Police Department said in a statement on September 13 that they were investigating Petito’s disappearance after Schmidt reported her missing at 6:55 p.m. on September 11.

Police said the van the couple was traveling in — the 2012 Ford Transit van with Florida license plates – had been recovered.

Laundrie declined to speak with the media directly, offering comment instead through a lawyer.

“We showed up. We see the vehicle. We take the vehicle,” North Port, Florida, police spokesperson Josh Taylor told Insider on September 14. “We make an attempt to talk with Brian, and his family declined to make him available, and they gave us the information for his attorney.”

In a statement on September 13, the North Port Police Department called Petito’s disappearance “odd” but said it had no evidence that a crime had been committed in North Port.

Laundrie went missing on September 13

North Port police spokesperson Josh Taylor told CNN on September 17 that Laundrie’s family informed authorities he’d been missing since Tuesday, September 14.

“We’ve been trying all week to talk to his family, to talk to Brian, and now they’ve called us here on Friday, we’ve gone to the home, and they’re saying now they have not seen their son,” Taylor told CNN. “So we are working through those details as we speak. It is another twist in this story.”

Taylor said the interaction was the first the police had with the Laundrie family since Petito had been reported missing.

Laundrie’s attorney said the FBI had gone to the Laundrie family home and removed some of Brian’s items.

His parents told authorities that he left to go hiking at Carlton Reserve and never returned home.

But the Laundrie family attorney later told Insider that Laundrie went missing on September 13 — not September 14 as the family previously said.

Laundrie’s lawyer released the first statement on his behalf September 14

“This is understandably an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family,” Steven Bertolino, the lawyer representing the Laundrie family, said in a statement to Insider on September 14. “It is our understanding that a search has been organized for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.”

“On behalf of the Laundrie family, it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is re-united with her family,” the statement continued. “On the advice of counsel, the Laundrie family is remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment.”

Petito’s family also released a statement on September 14 imploring Laundrie to help with the investigation

“Brian is refusing to tell Gabby’s family where he last saw her. Brian is also refusing to explain why he left Gabby all alone and drove her van to Florida,” Petito’s family said in a statement to Insider through their attorney Richard Stafford.

“These are critical questions that require immediate answers,” the family said.

A GoFundMe fundraiser created by a family friend to support the search for Petito had raised more than $27,000 by this point.

On September 15, police named Laundrie as a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance and the families released more statements

North Port police said at a news conference on September 15 that Laundrie returned to the Florida home where he and Petito had been living with his parents on September 1, 10 days before she was reported missing.

Authorities repeated that Laundrie has refused requests to be interviewed by investigators.

Petito’s family released another statement calling for Laundrie’s help.

“Brian, your silence is reprehensible!” a family lawyer said. “We beg you to do the right thing and help us bring Gabby home. Brian, whatever happened in Wyoming, happened. The only thing you can control is what you do now. Tell us where Gabby is. You tarnish your love for her with your silence.”

Laundrie’s lawyer put out another statement, reaffirming that Laundrie would refuse to cooperate with the investigation.

“In my experience, intimate partners are often the first person law enforcement focuses their attention on in cases like this and the warning that ‘any statement made will be used against you’ is true, regardless of whether my client had anything to do with Ms. Petito’s disappearance,” the statement from Bertolino said. “As such, on the advice of counsel Mr. Laundrie is not speaking on this matter.”

Authorities said they found a body matching Petito’s description on September 19

The body was found at a remote campsite in the Bridger–Teton National Forest.

During a news conference, FBI agent Charles Jones said “human remains were discovered consistent with the description” of Petito near the Spread Creek Dispersed camping area.

The body was discovered not long after family travel vloggers Jenn and Kyle Bethune uploaded a video to social media recorded from a GoPro camera mounted on their vehicle that appeared to show a van matching the description of the one Petito and Laundrie were traveling in.

Arrow pointing at Ford van

 

Jenn Bethune said the footage was captured on August 27 around 6 p.m.


Red White & Bethune/YouTube

The video, captured August 27 around 6 p.m., showed the van parked on the side of a windy road in the Spread Creek Dispersed camping area. It appeared there was no one inside the van at the time, Jenn Bethune told Insider.

She submitted the footage to the FBI. It’s not confirmed whether the van in the video is Petito’s.

Authorities searched Laundrie’s parent’s house on September 20

Police and the FBI swarmed the North Port, Florida, home, removing Laundrie’s parents from the residence and declaring the home a “crime scene.”

“The FBI is executing a court-authorized search warrant today at the Laundrie residence in North Port, FL  relevant to the Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito investigation,” the FBI’s Tampa office said in a tweet on September 20.

Laundrie’s parents were removed from the home and placed in a van outside the residence, according to on-the-scene reporters. They were later returned to the house about an hour later, according to media reports.

On September 21, the FBI confirmed Petito’s body had been identified and the ‘initial determination for the manner of death’ was homicide

The FBI’s Denver office confirmed that the human remains discovered in a remote area in Bridger–Teton National Forest in Wyoming belonged to Petito and the manner of death had initially been ruled a homicide.

“The cause of death remains pending final autopsy results,” according to the FBI.

On October 12, the Teton County coroner said Petito’s cause of death was strangulation

An autopsy report found that the Petito died of strangulation, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue announced on October 12.

Blue said he was unable to say whether Petito died of manual strangulation, saying “in the state of Wyoming, the autopsy results are not public knowledge.”

Laundrie is still missing, and survival experts told Insider it’s unlikely he’s still alive in Florida’s Carlton Reserve after 29 days in the wilderness.

Authorities on October 20 said they found some of Laundrie’s belongings and apparent human remains

Apparent human remains were discovered in the Florida reserve where Laundrie’s parents said he went missing, the FBI confirmed on October 20.

Authorities did not say whether these remains belonged to Laundrie.

“Earlier today, investigators found what appears to be human remains along with personal items, such as a backpack and notebook belonging to Brian Laundrie,” FBI agency Michael McPherson said at a news conference.

A backpack and notebook belonging to Laundrie were also discovered in the Florida wildlife reserve, the FBI said.

The remains and items were found after Laundrie’s parents, Chris and Roberta, joined the search efforts Wednesday morning.

Authorities confirmed on October 21 that the remains belong to Laundrie

The FBI and the attorney for the Laundrie family confirmed Thursday that the “skeletal remains” found belonged to Brian Laundrie.

Dental records were used to confirm his identity, according to a tweet by FBI Denver.

The cause and date of death are currently unknown.


Did we miss any locations or key pieces of information? Contact reporters Connor Perrett or Rebecca Cohen with any tips at [email protected] or [email protected].

Madison Hall and Sophia Ankel contributed reporting.

This story has been updated with new information.

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