Gabby Petito case: A timeline of her disappearance and homicide

Published: October 12, 2021 3:17 PM EDT
Updated: October 14, 2021 8:12 PM EDT
Gabby Petito (Credit: Joseph Petito)

Van Life” vlogger Gabby Petito was reported missing on September 11, 2021. What happened between her and her fiancé in the days leading up to her death? And where is Brian Laundrie?

July 2021: New adventures

Petito and Laundrie leave New York for what was supposed to be a four-month, cross-country trip visiting and camping in national parks. They plan to sleep in their van and document their travels on Instagram and YouTube.

August 12, 2021: Disorderly conduct stop

A 911 call is placed by someone who reports seeing a confrontation between Gabby and Brian. The caller said he saw Laundrie hit Petito. Police in Moab, Utah, are dispatched and pull the van over. It is unclear if they knew the details of the 911 call. Police bodycam video shows Petito crying and upset. The police report says that Petito hit Laundrie, but no arrests were made. The couple is separated for the night – Laundrie checks into a hotel and Petito stays in the van.

Gabby Petito’s disappearance prompts discussions on domestic violence and how to identify patterns of abuse.

August 19, 2021: “Van Life”

Petito and Laundrie post a video on YouTube called “Van Life:  Beginning Our Van Life Journey.” The images show them laughing and kissing.

August 24, 2021: Seen in Salt Lake City

Petito and Laundrie are reportedly seen leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City.

August 25, 2021: Gabby’s last post

The van is spotted at Grand Teton National Park. This is also the last day a post is made to Petito’s Instagram account.

August 27, 2021: An odd text and an argument

According to a search warrant, on August 27, Petito’s mother says she receives an odd text from Gabby’s phone. It read, “Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls.”  Stan is Gabby’s grandfather, but her mother says Gabby never referred to him by his first name. Gabby‘s mother said it was out of character and concerning.

Witnesses also reportedly see an argument between Laundrie and restaurant staff in Jackson, WY.

August 29, 2021: Hitchhiking claims

Miranda Baker posts on her TikTok claiming she picked up Brian Laundrie, who was hitchhiking alone.

Brian Laundrie

August 30, 2021: Another text

Petito’s mom says she receives a text from Gabby’s phone. She wouldn’t comment on what it said but according to some reports it read “no service in Yosemite”.

September 1, 2021: Brian returns home

According to North Port PD, Laundrie returns to North Port, Florida, where he lived with Gabby — but he was alone. He was traveling in the white ford van they shared.

The attorney for the Laundrie family says that on this date, during his journey home, Brian stopped at his sister’s home in Lakewood Ranch.

Some time between August 30 and September 1 is when Brian used Gabby’s card after her death.

September 4, 2021: Brian’s new phone

Brian Laundrie opens a new account with At&T and got a new phone.

September 6-7, 2021: Laundrie family vacation

The lawyer for Brian Laundrie and his family says the Laundrie family took a  “vacation” to Fort De Soto Park in Pinellas County.

September 11, 2021: Gabby reported missing

Gabby’s mother files a missing person’s report with the Suffolk County, New York, Police Department after not hearing from her since late August.

On September 11, 2021, Nicole Schmidt, Gabby Petito’s mother, files a missing person’s report with the Suffolk County, New York, Police Department.
Credit: WCBS

The white van Gabby and Brian traveled in was taken from the Laundrie family home on this date.

September 13, 2021: Brian’s last day

Brian Laundrie’s family reports that the last day that he was seen was on September 13.

September 14, 2021: Families torn apart

Brian Laundrie’s family issues a statement through their lawyer saying that they intend to remain in the background while the search for Gabby is underway. Petito’s family issues a statement accusing Laundrie of refusing to tell them where he last saw Gabby.

September 15, 2021: A person of interest

North Port Police say that Laundrie is refusing to cooperate and name him as a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance.

September 16, 2021: A plea for help

North Port Police hold a press conference. Gabby’s father asks everyone to help find his daughter.

Joe Petito appeals to the public to come forward with any information that could help investigators. “I’m asking for help from the parents of Brian and I’m asking for the help of the family members and friends of the Laundrie family as well,” he said. “Whatever you can do to make sure my daughter comes home, I’m asking for that help. There is nothing else that matters to me now.”
Credit: WINK News

September 17, 2021: Where is Brian?

Laundrie’s parents tell police they have not seen Brian in three days and report him missing. Protesters gather outside the Laundrie house.

September 18, 2021: The search for Brian

The search for Laundrie begins in the 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve in Sarasota, Florida. His parents say that was where he was headed the last time they saw him.

A search for Brian Laundrie is expected to continue at the Carlton Reserve on Saturday. (CREDIT: North Port Police Department)

September 19, 2021: Remains found

Authorities say they found remains near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming where the van was previously spotted.

September 20, 2021: FBI raid

Police execute a search warrant on Laundrie’s home, seizing his car and a hard drive that may contain “evidence that a felony has been committed.”

September 21, 2021: Gabby is identified

A coroner confirms that the remains found in Wyoming is Gabby Petito and determined the initial manner of death is homicide. The FBI announces they are taking over the criminal investigation, and authorities continue to search for Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve. Once Petito’s body is found, the investigation into her homicide begins.

September 23, 2021: Arrest warrant issued

A federal court in Wyoming issues an arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie. He’s charged with the unauthorized use of a debit card to make unauthorized withdrawals worth more than $1,000 during the time Petito went missing.

September 24, 2021: A vigil for Gabby

A candlelight vigil is held for Petito in her hometown of Blue Point, New York.

A memorial to Gabby Petito at North port City Hall. Credit: WINK News

September 25, 2021: Helping others

Petito’s father announces the creation of the Gabby Petito Foundation to “help people in similar situations as Gabby” and provide resources and guidance for parents searching for missing children.

September 26, 2021: Saying goodbye

Over 1,000 people attend a public memorial service for Petito at a Long Island, New York funeral home. The service was also streamed online.

The FBI also retrieved more items from the Laundrie house to test for DNA.

September 28, 2021: “Turn yourself in”

Petito’s family and their attorney thanked law enforcement on Tuesday in their first interview since Gabby’s death. They urge Laundrie to turn himself in to the authorities.

Gabby Petito’s mother Nichole Schmidt during an interview with Dr. Phil. (Credit: Dr. Phil)