Though Gabby Petito’s missing persons’ case captured everyone’s attention this month, she’s not the first young person to disappear without a trace. People are recalling other prominent cold cases, some that are still happening as we speak.
Unfortunately, Gabby’s case came to a tragic end this weekend after authorities found her remains in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. An autopsy conducted on Tuesday revealed that the body was hers and ruled her death as a homicide. No further details have confirmed what her cause of death was or when she died.
Authorities continue to search for her missing partner, Brian Laundrie, who disappeared on Sept. 14. He and Gabby Petito traveled together earlier this summer, until Laundrie showed up at his parents’ home in North Port, Florida, without her. Police have deemed him a person of interest in the case.
As the world mourns for her death, some people are speaking out about other men and women who have gone missing over the years.
One more recent case is that of Jelani Day, a 25-year-old graduate student attending Illinois State University. Fox News reports that people last saw him in Bloomington, Illinois, on Aug. 25. A university faculty member reported him missing after he failed to show up for class several days in a row.
On Monday, Sept. 20, the Bloomington Police Department sent out a news release confirming they’re still accepting tips and leads about Day. While searching for him earlier this month, police did recover a body. But the Illinois State Police crime lab hasn’t yet identified the body.
Similar to Gabby Petito, another cold case involved a girl disappearing while traveling. Natalee Holloway vanished during a high school graduation trip to the island of Aruba in 2005. Witnesses last saw her leaving a nightclub with a man named Joran van der Sloot, but what happened after that remains a mystery. They never found her body, and an Alabama judge declared her dead in 2012.
Gabby Petito’s Case Draws Attention to Other Women and Girls Who Disappeared
Unfortunately, Gabby Petito’s case seems connected to what looks like an abusive relationship with her partner, Brian Laundrie. This connects her to several other women who suffer from domestic violence.
“On average, three women a day are killed in this country from domestic violence,” Kiersten Stewart, Director of Public Policy and Advocacy at the Futures Without Violence Organization, told USA Today. “And we’re not doing enough to address it.”
The Wyoming Missing and Murdered Indigenous People Task Force highlights how indigenous women especially suffer from domestic abuse. The report addresses how 94% of homicides against indigenous women were done by current or former intimate partners.
While the world mourns for Gabby Petito and what happened to her, people want to remind everyone that this isn’t the first or last time this has happened. ‘
Serena Chavez, who organized a vigil in Salt Lake City to honor Petito, spoke about it to CNN.
“We won’t forget about you. We won’t let your light dim,” Chavez said at the vigil. But she also mentioned, “We will remember other women or children who are missing. Their families are devastated, and I can only imagine what Gabby’s family is going through.”