Gabby Petito Case Re-Ignites SpeculationsOver Other Missing Persons at National Parks

by Kati Michelle

The ongoing Gabby Petito investigation continues to draw in thousands upon thousands of onlookers worldwide. With the bizarre circumstances surrounding her disappearance, Petito’s case finds itself at the forefront of a lot of media as well. Some people even attribute the FBI’s latest lead to “internet warriors.” These are regular citizens who are putting in hours of sleuthing to try to move the case forward.

If you didn’t know, a YouTuber accidentally captured footage of Gabby Petito’s van in August. However, she didn’t realize it until a routine editing session weeks after the fact. Upon making the discovery, they immediately turned over the footage to the FBI. Officials were then able to narrow down their search. As opposed to the entire Grand Teton National Park area, they focused on the Spread Creek Dispersed Campsite. Here, they found a body matching Gabby Petito’s description, and officials scheduled an autopsy for today.

A portion of the public is upset by all the coverage Petito’s case has amassed because they feel that media often overlooks other missing person cases. And at the end of the day, there are a lot of those cases too– especially in relation to the National Parks System. Others, however, see Petito’s case as a catalyst to illuminate a bigger problem. Sure, the case is gaining a lot of attention, but other cases don’t discredit the importance of returning Gabby home to her parents. There’s room for everyone’s story to be told.

The Gabby Petito Case Reminds Us of the Others Who Are Still Missing

One Tweet gaining a lot of notoriety shares the story of Daniel Robinson. This young man worked as a geologist before going missing in the desert outside Arizona. His father is reportedly still looking for him. His story echoes that of a lot of others.

Interestingly enough, Strange Outdoors reports that the National Park Service doesn’t track data on the disappearance of visitors in their parks, so there’s no numbers to work off of. In the same vein, the Department of the Interior and the US Forest Service also doesn’t record numbers on disappearances.

That being said, the NPS SAR (Search and Rescue) Dashboard provides some clues. According to their data compiled in 2017, 3,453 search and rescue missions took place. Additionally, 182 deaths occurred across American National Parks. You can access the full 2017 Annual SAR Dashboard for more information.

Additionally, NamUs provides a database to search for missing persons. It stands for National Missing and Unidentified Persons System.