Gabby Petito-Brian Laundrie case: The full story behind the high-profile deaths

“Van Life” vlogger Gabby Petito was reported missing on September 11, 2021. What happened between her and her fiancé in the days leading up to her death?

July 2021: New adventures

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie
Briian Laundrie and Gabby Petito at the start of their journey on July 4, 2021.BRIAN LAUNDRIE/INSTAGRAM

Petito and Laundrie leave New York for what was supposed to be a four-month, cross-country trip visiting and camping in national parks. They plan to sleep in their van and document their travels on Instagram and YouTube.

Aug. 12, 2021: Disorderly conduct stop

Gabby Petito is seen talking to a Moab, Utah, police officer after police pulled over the van she was traveling in with fiancé Brian Laundrie near the entrance to Arches National Park on August 12, 2021. MOAB POLICE DEPARTMENT

A 911 call is placed by someone who reports seeing a confrontation between Gabby and Brian. The caller said he saw Laundrie hit Petito. Police in Moab, Utah, are dispatched and pull the van over. It is unclear if they knew the details of the 911 call. Police bodycam video shows Petito crying and  upset. The police report says that Petito hit Laundrie, but no arrests were made. The couple is separated for the night – Laundrie checks into a hotel and Petito stays in the van.       

Aug. 19, 2021: “Van Life”

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie as seen in a video posted to YouTube on August 19, 2021.GABBY PETITO/YOUTUBE

Petito and Laundrie post a video on YouTube called “Van Life: Beginning Our Van Life Journey.” The images show them laughing and kissing.    

Aug. 24, 2021: Seen in Salt Lake City

Petito and Laundrie are reportedly seen leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City.

Aug. 25, 2021: Gabby’s last post

Gabby Petito
Gabby Petito’s last post on Instagram was this photo on August 25, 2021.GABBY PETITO/INSTAGRAM

The van is spotted at Grand Teton National Park. This is also the last day a post is made to Petito’s Instagram account. 

Aug. 27, 2021: An odd text

Gabby Petito

According to a search warrant, on August 27, Petito’s mother says she receives an odd text from Gabby’s phone. It read, “Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls.”  Stan is Gabby’s grandfather, but her mother says Gabby never referred to him by his first name. Gabby’s mother said it was out of character and concerning.

Aug. 29, 2021: Hitchhiking claims

Miranda Baker posts on her TikTok claiming she picked up Brian Laundrie, who was hitchhiking alone.

Aug. 30, 2021: Another text

Petito’s mom says she receives a text from Gabby’s phone. She wouldn’t comment on what it said but according to some reports it read “no service in yosemite”.

Sept. 1, 2021: Brian returns home

According to police, Laundrie returns to North Port, Florida, where he lived with Gabby — but he was alone.

Sept. 11, 2021: Gabby reported missing

Gabby Petito's mother and stepfather
On September 11, 2021, Nicole Schmidt, Gabby Petito’s mother, files a missing person’s report with the Suffolk County, New York, Police Department.WCBS

Gabby’s mother files a missing person’s report with the Suffolk County, New York, Police Department after not hearing from her since late August.    

Sept. 13, 2021: Where is Brian?

Laundrie’s parents tell police Brian left the family’s home for a hike in the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County, Florida.

Sept. 14, 2021: Families torn apart

Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito
Brian Laundrie and Gabby PetitoGABBY PETITO/YOUTUBE

Brian Laundrie’s family issues a statement through their lawyer saying that they intend to remain in the background while the search for Gabby is underway. Petito’s family issues a statement accusing Laundrie of refusing to tell them where he last saw Gabby.

Sept. 15, 2021: A person of interest

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie in an Instagram post from March 17, 2020  — their one-year anniversary.GABBY PETITO/INSTAGRAM

North Port Police say that Laundrie is refusing to cooperate and name him as a person of  interest in Petito’s disappearance.

Sept. 16, 2021: A plea for help

Joe Petito
Joe Petito appeals to the public to come forward with any information that could help investigators. “I’m asking for help from the parents of Brian and I’m asking for the help of the family members and friends of the Laundrie family as well,” he said. “Whatever you can do to make sure my daughter comes home, I’m asking for that help. There is nothing else that matters to me now.”WINK

North Port Police hold a press conference. Gabby’s father asks everyone to help find his daughter.

Sept. 18, 2021: The search for Brian

North Port Police search
Members of the North Port Police Department gather to search for Brian Laundrie on September 18, 2021.NORTH PORT POLICE DEPARTMENT

The search for Laundrie begins in the 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve. His parents say that was where he was headed the last time they saw him.

Sept. 19, 2021: Remains found

Authorities say they found remains near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming where the van was previously spotted.

Sept. 20, 2021: FBI raid

Police execute a search warrant on Laundrie’s home, seizing his car and a hard drive that may contain “evidence that a felony has been committed.” 

Sept. 21, 2021: Gabby is identified

Gabby Petito
Gabby Petito photographed at Bryce Canyon National Park on July 21, 2021.  GABBY PETITO/INSTAGRAM

A coroner confirms that the remains found in Wyoming is Gabby Petito and determined the initial manner of death is homicide. The FBI announce they are taking over the criminal investigation, and authorities continue to search for Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve.

Sept. 23, 2021: Arrest warrant issued

A federal court in Wyoming issues an arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie. He’s charged with the unauthorized use of a debit card to make unauthorized withdrawals worth more than $1,000 during the time Petito went missing.

Sept. 24, 2021: A vigil for Gabby

A candlelight vigil is held for Petito in her hometown of Blue Point, New York.  

Sept. 25, 2021: Helping others

Petito’s father announces the creation of the Gabby Petito Foundation to “help people in similar situations as Gabby” and provide resources and guidance for parents searching for missing children.  

Sept. 26, 2021: Saying goodbye

Over 1,000 people attend a public memorial service for Petito at a Long Island, New York, funeral home. The service was also streamed online.

Sept. 28, 2021: “Turn yourself in”

Petito’s family and their attorney thanked law enforcement on Tuesday and urges Laundrie to turn himself in to authorities.

Oct. 6, 2021: Laundrie’s travels in August

Brian Laundrie

Brian Laundrie flew cross-country to visit his parents’ home in Florida during his trip with Gabby Petito, according to the Laundrie family’s lawyer, Steven Bertolini. The attorney says Laundrie flew home on August 17 and returned to Utah on August 23, four days before Petito was last seen.  Laundrie flew to Florida to get some supplies and close a storage unit to save money, Bertolini told CBS News. He says Laundrie and Petito were thinking about extending their road trip.

Oct. 12, 2021: Gabby Petito strangled to death, coroner says

The coroner in Teton County, Wyoming, announces Gabby Petito died by strangulation. Dr. Brent Blue said the manner of death is still considered a homicide, backing initial autopsy results that were released last month. Petito’s body was outside for 3-4 weeks before it was discovered, Blue said. He declined to comment on whether Petito is believed to have died in the location she was found, or whether her body was buried.  

Oct. 20, 2021: Human remains found at Carlton Reserve

The FBI confirms that authorities have found “what appears to be human remains” at the site where they were searching for Brian Laundrie. Special agent Michael McPherson also says authorities found personal items nearby — including a backpack and notebook — that the believe belong to Laundrie. The suspected human remains were found in an area previously underwater, the FBI said. Authorities are investigating whether the remains belong to Brian Laundrie.

Oct. 21, 2021:  Brian Laundrie’s remains identified, FBI says

The FBI confirms human remains found a day earlier at a Florida reserve belong to Brian Laundrie. The discovery comes after a weeks-long manhunt following the disappearance and death of his fiancée, Gabby Petito.   

Nov. 23, 2020: Attorney: Brian Laundrie dies by suicide

Brian Laundrie died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head and his manner of death was suicide, according to his family’s attorney Steven Bertolino. 

Jan. 21, 2022: Brian Laundrie claimed “responsibility” for Gabby Petito’s death in notebook, says FBI

In its final report on the investigation into Gabby Petito‘s death, the FBI reports that Brian Laundrie claimed responsibility for his fiancée’s death in a notebook found near his remains. The FBI in Denver, which led the investigation, says a notebook, a backpack and a revolver were found near the remains later identified as Laundrie. In the notebook was Laundrie’s written confession, the FBI says. The FBI also confirms that Laundrie had been “attempting to deceive law enforcement by giving the impression that Ms. Petito was still alive” by continuing a text chain between their two phones after she is believed to have died.”   

March 11, 2022:  Gabby Petito’s family sues Brian Laundrie’s parents

The parents of Gabby Petito claim in a Florida lawsuit that Brian Laundrie told his parents he had killed her before he returned home alone from their ill-fated cross-country road trip in a converted van. The lawsuit filed Thursday in Sarasota County Circuit Court contends that Laundrie told his parents on Aug. 28 that he had killed Petito, 22, his fiancee of about a year at the time. The lawsuit contends that Christopher and Roberta Laundrie concealed that their son had confessed to the murder from investigators and Petito’s parents while the search for Gabby Petito was ongoing.

March 30, 2022: Brian Laundrie’s parents move to dismiss lawsuit brought by Gabby Petito’s family

Brian Laundrie’s parents filed to dismiss the lawsuit brought by the family of his late fiancée calling it “baseless” and “frivolous.” Laundrie was found dead in a Florida nature reserve last fall, several weeks after Gabby Petito’s body was discovered in a Wyoming national park, where the couple had been vacationing. Petito’s family alleges that Laundrie told his parents, Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, he had killed Petito before he returned home alone from their ill-fated cross-country trip, and that the couple concealed their son’s alleged confession from the Petito family and authorities.

June 30, 2022: Lawsuit to move forward

A Florida judge denied that motion to dismiss, and the lawsuit was allowed to move forward.

Aug. 8, 2022: Petito’s family files $50 million wrongful death suit against Utah police

The lawsuit, filed by attorneys representing Joseph and Tara Petito and Nichole and Jim Schmidt, names the Moab Police Department; three of its officers: “Palmer,” “Pratt” and Daniel Robbins; and 10 other unnamed defendants and accuses them of “negligent failure” in their investigation into an alleged assault between Petito and her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, several weeks prior to her murder. 

They also accuse all of the defendants of “wrongful death,” saying that Petito’s “death was caused by their wrongful acts or neglect.”

Missing Traveler
This police camera video provided by the Moab Police Department shows Gabby Petito talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van she was traveling in with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, near the entrance to Arches National Park on Aug. 12, 2021. The couple was pulled over while they were having an emotional fight.AP

Jan. 12, 2021: Report indicates “unintentional mistakes” by Moab officers

City of Moab releases an investigative report on a review of the Aug. 12, 2021 Petito-Laundrie Incident with their officers. It finds that the officers made “unintentional mistakes” that day.

June 24, 2022: Details of Laundrie’s notebook released

Laundrie family attorney, Steven Bertolino, releases images of the pages of Brian’s notebook.

Nov. 3, 2022: Gabby Petito’s parents sue Moab police

The parents of Gabby Petito have officially filed a lawsuit against Utah’s Moab City Police Department over their daughter’s death. A press release says that the lawsuit was filed for the department’s “failures and negligence” that ultimately led to the 22-year-old being killed last year. Petito’s family are seeking $50 million in damages.

Nov. 17, 2022: Gabby Petito’s family awarded $3 million in wrongful death lawsuit

The families of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie have reached a $3 million settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit filed after authorities concluded he strangled her during a cross-country trip in August 2021. A lawyer for Petito’s parents said whatever money is received will go to the Gabby Petito Foundation dedicated to locating missing people and curbing domestic violence.