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A Timeline of Gabby Petito’s Disappearance and Theories About Her Fate

Audrey is a passionate writer who covers a wide array of topics, including film/tv reviews, opinion-based pieces, and relationship advice.

Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito on their trip out west.

Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito on their trip out west.

Timeline of Gabby Petito's Disappearance and Mysterious Circumstances

  • June 2021: Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito leave for a cross country trip in their converted 2012 van. They post many campsite reviews on the website Dyrt.
  • August 12, 2021: Police intervene in a domestic violence call outside Moonflower Co-op in Moab, Utah. Gabby is in tears and Brian is calm, saying they fought because he had dirty feet and she (admittedly) has extreme OCD. Gabby also mentions that he doesn't believe in or support her blog dreams and they've been fighting all day.
  • August 13: In an incident deemed unrelated by authorities, a lesbian newlywed couple is last seen at a bar in Moab. The younger wife worked at Moonflower Co-op until 3:00 pm on the 12th. While at the bar, they complain of a creeper at their campsite, and later post on social media that "if something happens to [them], [they] were murdered." They are found on August 17th shot to death at their campsite.
  • August 15-16: Gabby and Brian enter a store in Idaho and ask the owner about visiting Yellowstone.
  • August 17-23: Brian Laundrie flies home to Florida to either clean out a storage unit or move his and/or Gabby's belongings to a storage unit. Reports are conflicting. Gabby stays behind at a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah to work on their blog and website.
  • August 24: Gabby Petito Facetimes her mother as they leave the hotel, saying they are heading to the Grand Tetons in Wyoming. This is the last time her family sees her on a video call.
  • August 25: Gabby voice calls her family and posts pictures of them at Grand Teton National Park.
  • August 27: Gabby's family receives texts from her phone, but believe the texts were not from her. Brian Laundrie becomes enraged with female employees of Merry Piglets Tex Mex restaurant in Jackson Hole, Wyoming over his bill. Gabby comes inside to apologize for his behavior. Brian comes in to continue the spat multiple times, was not yelling, but was furious and aggressive in behavior.
  • August 27: Gabby’s van is confirmed seen at Spread Creek campground in Wyoming. This news was not confirmed until 9/18.
  • August 29: Brian Laundrie hitchhikes out of Grand Teton National Park without enough gear for camping, despite telling the couple driving that he had been camping for days. The woman who picked him up said he did not look dirty or tired and the details did not add up. Brian said his fiance was back at their van working on their social media page. When he discovered that they were driving to Jackson Hole (very near Grand Teton National Park), he freaked out and had them let him out, saying he'd get another ride.
  • August 30: Gabby's family receives a text from her phone that says "No service in Yosemite." Her friends and family do not believe this text was sent by her. It is unlike her—she would have called—and the couple have not been traced to Yosemite at all. Yosemite is in California, a 5-6 day drive to Florida.
  • September 1: Brian Laundrie is in his North Port Florida home with Gabby's van, but without Gabby. This nullifies the attempt to pass off the 8/30 text as coming from Gabby.
  • September 11: Gabby's family report her missing.
  • September 14: Brian releases a statement with his family through a lawyer saying that they will not be involved and will not be speaking. Per the Laundrie family, this is the last day they saw Brian Laundrie.
  • September 17: The Laundries invite the North Port Police Department to their home and report Brian Laundrie missing. Police collect evidence and search a car. Attorneys from both families report that the FBI is now looking for both Gabby and Brian, with Gabby's attorney saying that Brian was not missing, but rather he was hiding.
  • September 18: North Port Police search the T. Mabry Carlton reserve in Florida. It is a 24,000-acre wildlife reserve. His parents said he entered the reserve earlier in the week. They took scent dogs along for the search.
  • September 19: A body was found in the search area of Gabby Petito in Teton County. The FBI confirms it is likely Gabby Petito, and the North Port Police Department posts that they are heartbroken that she has been found deceased. DNA confirmation is still awaited.
  • September 20: Brian Laundrie possibly spotted in Florida around 6am on a deer cam. The person on the camera image was 500 miles from his home in North Port, about a two-hour walk to Tillmans Corner, Alabama. This sighting was later debunked.
  • September 20: Brian Laundrie is possibly spotted in Mobile, Alabama crossing the street after being dropped off near a Wal-Mart. Coincidentally (or not) a dead body of a homeless man was found in the same vicinity.
  • September 22: Neighbors recall seeing the Laundries (along with Brian) take a "camping trip" for the weekend after he returned home without Gabby. They say the family hooked up a new trailer camper to the back of a truck. Also around this date, the search resumes in the Carlton Reserve in Florida, including underwater dive teams.
  • September 23: A federal arrest warrant is issued for Brian Laundrie for bank fraud totaling $1,000.00 after Gabby Petito’s death.
  • September 24: Twitter and Instagram users speculate that Brian Laundrie accidentally went live on Instagram for three seconds, revealing a green boat, a camo croc shoe, and a body of water.
  • September 24-25:Celebrity manhunt specialists John Walsh and Duane Chapman (Dog the Bounty Hunter on reality TV) lend their efforts to the search. John Walsh says the tips point to the Bahamas, Mexico, or the Appalachian trail.
  • September 29: After a few uneventful days searching the Carlton Reserve for Brian Laundrie, authorities scale back their approach. Separately, and partly due to Duane Chapman’s tipline, documents confirm the Laundries camped 75 miles north of their home in De Soto Park, on 9/1-9/3 and 9/6-9/8.
  • September 29th, unconfirmed reports of Brian Laundrie sightings on or near Boone, North Carolina on the Appalachian trail are presented to the Watauga County Sheriff as well as Duane Chapman.
  • October 1: Online sleuths call into question Cassie Laundrie’s previous statements, as it appears she went camping with Brian and his family after he returned alone from out west. Previously she seemed to say she hadn’t had contact with Brian since his return.
  • October 2: Dennis Davis was hiking the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina and Tennessee when a man who he believes was Brian Laundrie pulled up beside his car in a light colored F150-style truck to ask him for backroad directions to California. The man was wearing a bandana over his head and said he needed to get to his girlfriend. Later Dennis confirmed his suspicion of the man after hearing Laundrie’s voice in a recording.
  • October 20: Chris and Roberta Laundrie finally cooperate. Brian Laundrie’s backpack and notebook are discovered in an area previously underwater. There are also human remains that his family’s lawyer says are most likely Brian’s. The remains are not intact and many speculate an alligator partially ate or attacked Brian.
  • Oct 21: Brian Laundrie's remains are found in a thickly wooded park in Sarasota County, Florida. The remains are confirmed by the FBI. Also recovered was a notebook, later revealed to be full of elaborate and defensive explanations about why he took Petito's life and then committed suicide. Experts do not believe the reasonings given in the notebook are true.

Theories: What Could Have Happened?

None of these things are proven. These are all just theories collected from the internet and from my own friends and family. All of these things are hypothetical and pure speculation based on the facts of their case.

Please do not take these things as truth. Some of these theories seem plausible, some are downright crazy. Some of these theories were proven false or partly true, and are updated as needed in parentheses. Add your own theory in the comments.

  • Brian and Gabby's frequent fights turned physical and in a moment of rage, he pushed her off a mountain (or something of a similar height) on 8/29, then hitch-hiked back to their van and drove home immediately, lawyered up, and won't talk. (This was a common theory before it was discovered that Brian committed suicide).
  • Brian premeditated Gabby's murder after he'd had enough of her, or after a fit of jealousy. He committed the murder in a hidden part of the Grand Teton National Park, where he thought she would never be found.
  • Brian has disappeared and committed suicide, taking with him all the information about Gabby's whereabouts. He may never be found. (Brian's remains were ultimately found in Sarasota County, Florida).
  • Brian disappeared to have more time to come up with a better alibi and set of lies so when he does have to talk, he will have a better fake story to tell. (Brian committed suicide and left his fanciful version of events, now proven false, in a notebook).
  • Brian killed the Shulte-Beck couple in Moab after they intervened in their fight or tried to protect Gabby from abuse. Gabby could not handle this and declared she was going to tell the police, which is when Brian killed her and rushed home. (There has been no confirmed connection between the couple killed in Moab and the Laundrie-Petito case.)
  • Gabby killed the Schulte-Beck couple out of jealousy or because they intervened to protect Brian from physical abuse, and Gabby then threatened to kill Brian, who killed her first to protect himself. Ashamed he was an abused boyfriend, he is keeping quiet. (This absurd theory has been proven false.)
  • Gabby committed suicide in the Grand Tetons when her anxiety became too much to bear. Brian knew he would be a suspect and had no alibi, so he ran into hiding. (This was not true. He admitted to killing her).
  • Brian and Gabby broke up, and a fight ensued, resulting in her murder (rage murder) and Brian's fleeing home.
  • Brian's fight at the restaurant and her intervening ticked him off, making them argue more, resulting in him killing her.
  • Brian killed the homeless person in Alabama when the person recognized him. (No official connection to this murder.)
  • Brian was never in the reserve—his family made up that lie to buy him time to escape to Mexico, to live out the rest of his days there. He walked hundreds of miles and hitch-hiked some, being spotted in the Florida Panhandle on a deer cam, then later in Tillmans Corner Alabama. He cut through Mississippi and down into Texas, and crossed the border into Mexico. (This theory has been proven untrue. Brian died by suicide in Florida).
  • Brian is trekking through heavily wooded areas north to Canada, where they will not deport him if he is found guilty of murder and sentenced to death. (This theory has been proven untrue. Brian died by suicide in Florida).
  • Brian's family went on a camping trip and set up the camper for him in a very remote area. He is hiding out there until the story is more forgotten when he will make a break for Mexico or Canada. (This theory has been proven untrue. Brian died by suicide in Florida).
  • Cassie Laundrie helped Brian escape during the last camping trip, or passed him onto a family connection for hiding. There are also theories she met up with them in Wyoming. Others speculate she had something to do with the murder and cover up, such as moving the body.
  • Brian borrowed or otherwise obtained a light colored F150-style truck, possibly with his family’s help, and fled to the Appalachian trail in North Carolina as his family bought him time with phony stories and delaying reporting him missing. (This theory has been proven untrue. Brian died by suicide in Florida).
  • Brian killed himself in the reserve and an alligator ate his remains. (Possible).
  • Brian accidentally drowned in the reserve. (This theory has been proven untrue. Brian died by suicide in Florida).
  • Brian was eaten by an alligator in the reserve while in the water. (This theory has been proven untrue. Brian died by suicide in Florida).
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© 2021 Audrey Lancho


Audrey Lancho (author) from Spain on September 18, 2021:

They are searching for her in Wyoming, and searching for Brian in Florida! Both of them are missing.

Sadly, I think we know who did it.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on September 18, 2021:

Murder mystery. Where is the police?

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