HOUSTON – Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, 22, and Brian Laundrie, 23, were both found dead after massive search efforts were launched following a cross-country trip into the American West.
Take a look back at some of the moments from the case that held the world transfixed as events unfolded across the nation.
Affianced couple Petito and Laundrie’s trek in their Fort Transit van began on July 2, according to Petito’s mother, from New York’s Long Island, where both grew up. They intended to reach Oregon by Halloween according to their social media accounts, but Petito vanished after her last known contact with family in late August from Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, authorities said.
Petito and Laundrie got into a physical altercation Aug. 12 in Moab, Utah, that led to a police stop, which ended with police deciding to separate the quarreling couple for the night.
Police video released by the Moab Police Department in Utah showed that an officer pulled the van over on Aug. 12 after it was seen speeding and hitting a curb near the entrance to Arches National Park. The body cam video showed an emotional Petito, who sat inside a police cruiser while officers also questioned Laundrie.
Laundrie says on the video the couple got into a minor scuffle that began when he climbed into the van with dirty feet, and said he didn’t want to purue a domestic violence charge against Petito, who officers decided was the aggressor.
He told the officers he wasn’t going to pursue charges because he loves her. “It was just a squabble. Sorry it had to get so public,” Laundrie says on the video.
No charges were filed, and no serious injuries were reported. Petito and Laundrie posted online about their trip in a white Ford Transit van converted into a camper.
See a video of Petito and Laundrie’s journey uploaded on Aug. 19. The video now has more than six million views.
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Petito’s death - The three to four weeks her body was believed to be in the wilderness put her death around the Aug. 27-30 period investigators believe Petito and Laundrie had traveled to the area.
Laundrie returned home alone Sept. 1 in the van the couple took on their trip, which was later impounded by authorities.
Petito’s parents file a missing persons report with police in Suffolk County, New York, after she did not respond to calls and texts for several days while the couple visited national parks in the West.
Laundrie goes missing two weeks after the 23-year-old returned alone to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida. Authorities begin search soon after in the Carlton Reserve in the Sarasota area of Florida.
Petito’s parents released a letter through their attorney to Laundrie’s parents, asking them to help investigators locate Petito, despite their instinct to protect their son.
Laundrie identified as a person of interest in the case.
A sheriff in Utah says that detectives have determined there is no connection between Petito’s disappearance on the trip and a still-unsolved slaying of two women who were fatally shot at a campsite near Moab, Utah — the same tourist town where Petito and Laundrie had the fight in which police intervened.
The two women’s bodies were found Aug. 18, six days after the traffic stop involving Laundrie and Petito. The two women, Kylen Schulte, 24, and Crystal Turner, 38, had told friends they feared a “creepy man” they had seen nearby might harm them.
Utah’s Grand County Sheriff Steven White said without elaboration in a news release the two cases were unrelated.
Petito found dead near an undeveloped camping area along the border of Grand Teton National Park in remote northern Wyoming. The coroner there concluded she died of strangulation and her body had been where it was found for three or four weeks.
Police removed Laundrie’s parents from their home and declared the property a “crime scene,” as Laundrie was deemed a person of interest in the case.
A federal grand jury indictment alleged Laundrie withdrew or spend more than $1,000 using a Capital One card after Petito went missing. It wasn’t clear whose name was linked to the account.
Reality TV star, Duane Chapman, known as “Dog The Bounty Hunter,” joined the search for Laundrie.
A man claims to have spotted Laundrie Saturday morning along the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina.
According to The New York Post, Dennis Davis, 53, says the man he believes to be Laundrie waved him down and asked for directions to California using only back roads.
Laundrie’s body found in a Florida nature preserve. The skeletal remains, a backpack and notebook believed to belong to Laundrie were discovered Wednesday in a Florida wilderness park, according to the FBI. The FBI’s Denver office said in a news release a comparison of dental records confirmed that the remains were Laundrie.
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