GABBY Petito and Brian Laundrie presented themselves online as a loved-up couple embarking on the adventure of a lifetime - but the facade crumbled after Gabby disappeared mid-way through their trip and was later found dead.
Gabby, 22, and Laundrie, 23, regularly documented their travels on Instagram after setting off from Florida in their repurposed van in mid-July to tour the country's national parks.
The couple, who first met in high school in New York, each filled their feeds with idyllic images of breathtaking scenery and intimate snapshots of them embracing in the wilderness as they preached the perks of nomadic living.
But their so-called dream excursion across the US came to an abrupt halt when Brian Laundrie returned home to Florida without Gabby on September 1, some two months into their planned four-month trip.
Laundrie immediately retained an attorney and offered no explanation for where Gabby was. He reportedly acted without a care in the world, neighbors said, even going camping with his family for two days at a nearby park.
Gabby was eventually reported missing by her mother in New York on September 11.
Read our Gabby Petito live blog for the very latest news and updates...
Two days later, Brian reportedly vanished after telling his parents he was going hiking in Carlton Reserve but never returned home.
He wasn't reported missing until September 17. Two days after that, Gabby's decomposed remains were found at a campsite in Wyoming. A coroner later ruled that she'd been strangled to death by "human force" three to four weeks earlier.
The culprit behind her murder has not yet been identified by police but Brian Laundrie, 23, is the sole person of interest in the case.
He is also wanted for fraud after he allegedly used a bank card belonging to Gabby and racked up charges of over $1,000 between August 29 and September 1.
As an investigation continues, Gabby's father Joe Petito said that his daughter and Brian seemed "happy" before embarking on their trip, though clearly all was not what it seemed.
"Outside looking in she did look happy," he said. "But as we look more and more into this, it might not have been as great as people online perceived." he said.
DISTURBING POLICE STOP
The first indication the couple's relations may have been straining on the road came on August 12 after police in Moab, Utah, were summoned to a grocery store to reports of a man "slapping" a woman, before the pair got into a van and drove off.
After pulling Gabby and Brian over in their repurposed van, a hysterical Petito is seen telling officers that Laundrie had "grabbed" her face, left a "burning" gash on her cheek, and red marks on her arm.
A cop asks the vlogger: “Did he hit you though? I mean, it's okay if you're saying you hit him. I understand if he hit you, but we want to know the truth if he actually hit you.”
Gabby replied: “I, I guess, yeah, but I hit him first. He like grabbed my face, like, like I guess. He didn’t like hit me in the face. He didn’t, like, punch me in the face.
"Well, he like grabbed me, like, with his nail, and I guess that's why it hurts. I definitely have a cut. Like, I can feel it.”
'BRUISES AND SCRATCHES'
While Gabby was seen speaking through floods of tears, choking on her words in distress at certain points, Brian was by contrast incredibly calm, smiley, and was seen joking and fist-bumping with the officers.
Brian alleges that Gabby hit him first and tells the officers: "I’m fine. And I love Gabby. I hope she doesn’t have too many complaints about me. I was just trying to make her calm down."
Asked by the officers if Gabby takes any medications, Brian replies: "She just gets crazy. No. No, I don’t think so. None that I know of."
The footage also appeared to show Laundrie handing cops two cell phones – despite insisted moments earlier that he doesn't have a phone.
The incident, which happened around two weeks before Gabby was found dead, ended without any charges being filed though Gabby and Brian were separated for the night.
It's unclear whether Gabby informed her parents about the incident prior to her death.
In an interview with 60 minutes of Sunday, her mom Nichole Schmidt said the 77-minute clip was "hard to watch."
"I wanted to jump through the screen and rescue her," she said. "I saw a young girl that needed someone to just hug her and keep her safe. I just felt so bad for her. I wish that she reached out to me."
'EXPLOSIVE' PUBLIC FIGHT
When news of Gabby's disappearance started making headlines across the country in mid-September, new witnesses came forward with information about Gabby's last known movements.
One of the final times the vlogger is believed to have been seen alive is on August 27 when she and Brian reportedly stopped for lunch inside the Merry Piglets restaurant in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
Nina Celie Angelo, of New Orleans, said she had been inside the eatery with her boyfriend when suddenly an agitated man she later identified as Laundrie began arguing with a waitress sometime after 1pm.
While she said she couldn't hear what words were being exchanged between Laundrie and the woman, she believed the spat was either over the bill or about money.
Angelo described Laundrie's body language as "aggressive" and said that he left and returned to the restaurant around four times, continuing the conflict.
Gabby, meanwhile, reportedly stood nearby in floods of tears. At one stage she came back inside and apologized for her partner's behavior, Angelo said.
The restaurant later confirmed the commotion in a statement and said the matter had been reported to the FBI.
A store worker in Idaho also recently reported sharing a strange encounter with the couple shortly before she was murdered.
Sunny Mason, who works at Victor Emporium, just 30 miles from Grand Teton National Park, says she believes Gabby, 22, and Brian, 23, stopped by her store on either August 25 or August 26.
During Mason's alleged encounter with the couple, she said she remembered bonding with Gabby about the flower tattoo on the vlogger's left arm.
She says Gabby told her that she and her partner were on a road trip touring US national parks, with Yellowstone being their next stop.
But it was Brian's "strange" behavior that really stood out, Mason said.
"It felt to me that he almost prompted her to tell me that she was engaged," Mason remembered to a local news outlet. "We get a lot of engaged couples and it doesn't usually come up that way.
"It just felt kind of odd," she continued, "like it was a reminder to her to be like 'Ooh look, we're engaged.
"It felt like he felt slighted for her not talking about her engagement, or her not being excited [about it]."
GABBY'S SOCIAL POSTS
Web sleuths have been digging into both Gabby and Brian's social media pages in search of clues that trouble was brewing in paradise between the pair, long before Gabby was found dead.
Gabby shared a number of harrowing Pinterest posts about mental health in the weeks and months before her death. including an image that read "existence is pain."
The chilling caption was above a wallpaper image of the artificial humanoid creature Mr. Meeseeks from the sci-fi sitcom Rick and Morty. She also shared a black and white version of the same image.
A pen drawing of a female face, uploaded to Gabby's Instagram last April, has also sparked concern among armchair detectives.
Written around the figure are a series of messages, one of which reads: "I don't like to go outside. I like my bed."
Another says: "To future me: I'm not sleeping I'm just closing my eyes."
Some followers of the case seem convinced that Gabby’s haunting artwork reflected the vlogger’s fears that she would be killed one day.
KILLER BOOKS AND CREEPY PLAYLISTS
Gabby was uploaded a photo showing her reading a book about the Zodiac killer just days before she was found dead.
Brian Laundrie also bragged online about the macabre and violent books he was reading during his road trip with Gabby, including Chuck Palahniuk's Lullaby, which is about a serial killer.
An eye of suspicion has additionally been cast towards a playlist Brian and Gabby allegedly shared on Spotify, which some believe hints at the couple's fractured relations.
The songs focus on heartache and romantic relationships and are by the artist Matt Berry.
One lyric reads: "Your woman is your angel, is your left side, is your whole life; easily the most beautiful thing in the world.
"She'll soothe you; she'll accuse you; she'll confuse you; she'll lose you but always be the best friend you have in the world."
This song appeared on a playlist called Mtn Tops; a day earlier a new song list was created called Self-consumption.
Gabby Petito timeline
Gabby Petito, 22, was last seen on August 24, leaving a hotel in Utah. Here is a timeline of Gabby Petito's disappearance:
- June 2021 - Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie set off on a cross-country trip across the US.
- July 4 - Gabby posts photos of herself barefoot in Gove County, Kansas.
- July 8 - Gabby posts photos of herself at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
- July 18 - Gabby and Brian post photos of themselves at Utah's Zion National Park.
- August 12 - Body camera footage was released in September showing an encounter Brian and Gabby had with police in Utah. Police confirmed that no significant injuries were reported.
- August 19 - Gabby and Brian post a video on their YouTube channel chronicling their trip.
- August 24 - Gabby is spotted leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- August 25 - Gabby Facetimes her mom, Nichole Schmidt, for the final time. In a later police report, Schmidt said her conversations with her daughter revealed "more and more tension" between her and Brian.
- August 25 - Gabby also posts her last Instagram. No location is given.
- August 27 - Gabby is seen for what's believed to be the final time. Witnesses claim they saw Brian in an explosive argument with staff at a restaurant in Jackson Hole, leaving Gabby in tears.
- August 27 - Four hours later, travel bloggers driving through Grand Teton National Park drive past the couple's van "abandoned" on a dirt road.
- September 1 - Brian returns home to Florida without Gabby.
- September 11 - Gabby's parents report her missing to Suffolk County police.
- September 14 - Brian's family issues a statement saying he has retained an attorney and will not be cooperating with investigators.
- September 14 - Brian is allegedly last seen by his family. He reportedly told them he was going hiking in Cartlon Reserve but failed to return.
- September 15 - Florida's North Port police announce Brian is a person of interest in the case. He is not charged with any crime.
- September 16 - Utah police release body camera footage of the police encounter with Brian and Gabby.
- September 17 - Brian's parents say they have not seen their son in a couple of days and report him missing.
- September 18 - Police announce they were searching Carlton Reserve in Florida for Brian. Police announce they have not found anything.
- September 19 - Authorities in Wyoming say they found a body in Grand Teton National Park. The FBI announces the body was believed to be Gabby's but a full forensic identification needs to be completed first to confirm.
- September 20 - Police execute a search warrant on Laundrie's home, seizing his silver Mustang and a hard drive that may contain "evidence relevant to proving that a felony has been committed."
- September 21 - Officials announce they will be conducting an autopsy on the remains found in Wyoming to confirm whether or not they belong to Gabby. Police also resumed their search for Laundrie, this time on the Venice side of Carlton Reserve.
- September 21 - The FBI announced the body found in Wyoming was identified as Gabby's. The cause of death was not yet revealed.
- September 21 - The Teton County Coroner's office said Gabby's official cause of death was still pending but the initial manner of death is homicide.
- September 22 - Police continue to scour Carlton Reserve for a trace of Laundrie but yield no leads. A specialist dive team is called in to assist with the hunt.
- September 23 - Officials announced a federal arrest warrant for Brian was issued.
- September 26 - Gabby's funeral was held on Long Island, New York.
- October 12: Gabby's autopsy results were made public. Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue confirmed Gabby died by strangulation.
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