Gabrielle Petito, 22, was reported missing Sept. 11 after she did not return from a monthslong cross-country trip with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie. Her remains were later found in a national park in Wyoming.
The authorities were searching for Laundrie, who himself disappeared after returning to his home in Florida alone.
Here is a timeline of the case.
The couple left New York for what was supposed to be a four-month, cross-country trip visiting and camping in national parks, said Petito’s stepfather, Jim Schmidt.
They documented their travels on their Instagram accounts and on YouTube.
Petito published a photograph of herself on Instagram, taken Aug. 9, sitting under an arch in Arches National Park in Utah.
The same day that she posted the picture, police in Moab, Utah, responded to a report of a “domestic problem” after Laundrie had “some sort of argument” with Petito, according to a police report.
Laundrie and Petito told the police that they were in love, engaged to be married and “desperately didn’t wish to see anyone charged with a crime.” According to the police report, Laundrie told an officer that “issues between the two had been building over the last few days.”
The couple published an eight-minute video on YouTube titled “Van Life: Beginning Our Van Life Journey.” It showed them kissing, scaling rocks and laughing about how the sun in Utah had melted the chocolate in Laundrie’s granola. “I love the van,” Petito said, smiling at Laundrie.
About Aug. 23 to Aug. 24
Schmidt said he and Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, last spoke with Petito on a FaceTime call about this time. He said Petito told them that she and Laundrie were leaving Utah and driving to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Schmidt said Petito texted her mother a few times after that.
The last post on her Instagram account was published Aug. 25.
Nichole Schmidt said she received a text from her daughter’s phone, according to The New York Post. The text said, “No service in Yosemite,” Nichole Schmidt told The Post.
Laundrie returned to his house in North Port, Florida, in the white Ford van that the couple had used for the trip, and that had been registered to Petito. He was alone.
Petito’s family reported her missing, North Port Police Department said.
The police described Laundrie as a “person of interest,” saying he was the last person known to have been with Petito before she went missing. Chief Todd Garrison of the North Port Police posted a plea on Twitter addressed to Steven Bertolino, Laundrie’s lawyer, asking him to arrange a conversation with Laundrie.
Bertolino said he had advised Laundrie not to speak with authorities.
Officials at Grand Teton National Park said rangers were working with investigators from the National Park Service, the FBI and other local authorities to find Petito.
Garrison said at a news conference that Laundrie was exercising his constitutional right not to speak with authorities, and that investigators were still treating the search as a missing persons case.
Joseph Petito, Petito’s father, appeared at the news conference and pleaded for tips and help from the community in finding his daughter. Gabrielle Petito’s parents and stepparents also made a public plea directly to Laundrie’s parents, begging them to reveal where “Brian left Gabby.”
“We ask you to put yourselves in our shoes,” they said in the letter, which was read by their lawyer, Richard Stafford. “We haven’t been able to sleep or eat. And our lives are falling apart.”
Laundrie’s parents summoned the police to their home in North Port and told them that they had not seen Laundrie since Sept. 14.
North Port police announced that they were searching the Carlton Reserve, a 25,000-acre park about 13 miles from North Port, for Laundrie. Laundrie’s family “says they believe he entered the area earlier this week,” police said on Twitter.
The FBI said it was searching Grand Teton National Park and the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area, both in Wyoming, for Petito.
Human remains believed to belong to Petito were found in a national forest in Wyoming, the FBI said. An agent said the remains were “consistent with a description of” Petito, but added that a full forensic identification was still needed to confirm.
The police in North Port said their search at the Carlton Reserve had ended with nothing new to report.
Federal agents executed a search warrant at the Laundrie family’s home in North Port, the FBI in Tampa said. It said that the warrant was related to the investigation but gave no further details.
The FBI said a forensic examination had confirmed the remains were those of Petito. The manner of death was homicide, the agency said.
The police in North Port resumed a search of the reserve for Laundrie.
A federal arrest warrant was unsealed in Wyoming for Laundrie, charging him with debit card fraud.
The single-count indictment, filed on Sept. 22 in U.S. District Court in Cheyenne, charged Laundrie with a single felony count of using unauthorized access devices related to a Capital One bank debit card.
The authorities did not say whether the debit card had belonged to Petito.
Dr. Brent Blue, the Teton County, Wyoming, coroner, said Petito had died from strangulation.
Her body had been outside for three to four weeks, he said at a news briefing, but her exact date of death was unclear.
Human remains were found in a heavily wooded Florida park near a notebook and a backpack that had belonged to Laundrie, the FBI said. Michael F. McPherson, the special agent in charge of the FBI’s Tampa field office, said investigators were using “all available forensic resources” to process the scene in the Carlton Reserve and the adjoining Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in Sarasota County.
A comparison of dental records confirmed that the remains, which were found in the Carlton Reserve and the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, were those of Laundrie, the FBI said.
A medical examiner’s office in Sarasota said Laundrie died by suicide, and that the cause of death was a gunshot wound to the head.
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