Gabby Petito Case: What to Know About 22-Year-Old’s Last Days

by Jennifer Shea
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By now, most of the country knows the fate of Gabby Petito. The 22-year-old hiker disappeared while on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie.

Petito’s last phone call to her mother was on Aug. 24. Her final Instagram post was dated Aug. 25. Last weekend, her body was found in Teton-Bridger National Forest. The Teton County coroner has ruled her death a homicide.

The cause of death remains unclear. And what happened between Petito and Laundrie is not fully known because Laundrie refused to cooperate with the investigation into her disappearance, then went missing himself last week. But investigators are beginning to piece together what happened over the course of Petito’s final days.

Gabby Petito Felt Growing Stress, Tension in Final Days

According to The Sun, Petito’s last call to her mother was a FaceTime chat on Aug. 24. But as the couple made their way across the country, her mother, Nicole Schmidt, had perceived a growing “tension” between Petito and Laundrie, authorities said in a search warrant, ABC 7 reports.

On Aug. 12, police had pulled the couple over in Moab, Utah after a 9-1-1 call about a domestic dispute. Police bodycam video footage from the encounter reveals a visibly distraught Petito and a seemingly calm Laundrie explaining to officers that both of them grappled with anxiety issues. According to the police report, the police concluded that it was less a case of domestic assault and more a mental health crisis. And although the 9-1-1 caller had said that Laundrie hit Petito, at least one of the officers believed that Petito had been the one who slapped Laundrie.

On Aug. 27, a Louisiana couple now claims they witnessed Petito and Laundrie losing it at a restaurant in Wyoming, The Merry Piglets, per CNN. They claim Petito was crying and Laundrie was clearly angry. He allegedly went into and out of the restaurant multiple times and expressed anger at staff around the hostess stand.

That day, Schmidt got a text from her daughter that left her alarmed. In the text, Petito referred to her grandfather as “Stan,” which she never did, Schmidt said.

Meanwhile, two vloggers shot video that showed Petito’s van in the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area, where her body was found, from 6 to 6:30 p.m. that evening.

The final text from Gabby Petito was a message to her mother on Aug. 30 that said, “No service in Yosemite.” But Schmidt has expressed doubt that Petito herself sent that text.

Search for Brian Laundrie Continues

The Feder Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has obtained an arrest warrant for Laundrie, who told his parents he was going hiking in a local nature preserve last week. They reported him missing on Friday, three days after he set out for his hike.

The warrant, issued by the U.S. District Court of Wyoming, is related to Laundrie’s unauthorized use of a debit card after her disappearance, Fox News reports.

Searches of the nature preserve that Laundrie supposedly went hiking in have turned up nothing. A local survival expert told USA Today that if authorities haven’t found any signs of Laundrie’s presence by now – like footprints or his remains – he probably never entered the preserve in the first place.

Outsider.com