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Gabby Petito timeline: From road trip with Brian Laundrie to missing persons investigation

Sarasota Herald-Tribune logo Sarasota Herald-Tribune 9/19/2021 Grace Pateras, Sarasota Herald-Tribune
a woman standing in front of a car posing for the camera: This police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Gabrielle '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. Petito was reported missing by her family a month later and is now the subject of a nationwide search. (The Moab Police Department via AP) © AP This police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Gabrielle '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. Petito was reported missing by her family a month later and is now the subject of a nationwide search. (The Moab Police Department via AP)

Multiple law enforcement agencies across the country are searching for a missing 22-year-old woman who was reported missing after setting out on a cross-country trip in a converted van with her fiancé.

Gabrielle, or Gabby, Petito and 23-year-old Brian Laundrie documented the trip on their Instagram and YouTube pages.

Petito and Laundrie were childhood sweethearts on Long Island before moving from Blue Point, New York, in 2019 to live with his parents in North Port, Florida.

a woman holding a sign: North Port Florida police and the FBI ask for the public's help in finding missing 22-year-old Gabby Petito who disappeared on a cross-country road trip with her fiance Brian Laundrie. © MATT HOUSTON/SARASOTA HERALD-TRIBUNE North Port Florida police and the FBI ask for the public's help in finding missing 22-year-old Gabby Petito who disappeared on a cross-country road trip with her fiance Brian Laundrie.

The van that the two were traveling in has since been recovered at Petito's residence in North Port. Laundrie was at the home, but he refused to speak with authorities.

Laundrie has been named a person of interest in the case. 

Gabby Petito: What we know about missing Florida 22-year-old

Who is Brian Laundrie?: What we know about Gabby Petito's fiancé

Social media reaction:Tweets, TikTok true crime videos, podcasts emerge

Petito is white, 5-foot-5, about 110 pounds, and has blonde hair and blue eyes, police said. She has several tattoos including one on a forearm that reads, “let it be."

Here's a timeline of events so far:

July: Couple departs from New York on a cross-country trip

Petito and Laundrie started their drive across Long Island in a white 2012 Ford Transit van with Florida license plate QFTG03. The van had been converted so the two can live and travel comfortably, social posts from Petito said.

Aug. 12: Traffic stop in Moab City, Utah

A video released by the Moab Police Department shows an officer pulled over the van on Aug. 12 after it was seen speeding and hit a curb near the entrance to Arches National Park.

The body camera video shows Petito visibly upset when an officer approached them.

“We’ve just been fighting this morning. Some personal issues,” she tells him, adding that she suffers from an obsessive-compulsive disorder that affects her behavior.

“Yeah, I don’t know, it’s just some days, I have really bad OCD, and I was just cleaning and straightening up, and I was apologizing to him saying that I’m so mean because sometimes I have OCD and get frustrated,” she said.

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 pursue a domestic violence charge against Petito, who officers decided was the aggressor.

“I’m not going to pursue anything because she is my fiancée and I love her. It was just a squabble. Sorry it had to get so public,” Laundrie says.

Ultimately, Moab police decided not to file any charges and instead separated the couple for the night, with Laundrie checking into a motel and Petito remaining with the converted sleeper van.

Aug. 19: 'VAN LIFE' vlog posted online

The first — and only — video was posted on the couple's joint YouTube page, "Nomadic Statik," which was created the same day. 

The eight-minute video titled “Van Life: Beginning our Van Life Journey” features happy and romantic scenes from the couple’s trip.

Replay Video

Aug. 25: Last seen 

According to a verified GoFundMe page set up to raise funds to aid in the search for Petito, she was "last known to be in Grand Teton, Wyoming on 8/25/21 heading towards Yellowstone National Park."

Aug. 30: Text to mom

According to Petito's family, they were last in contact with her during the last week of August. Prior to the last communication, Petito is believed to have been in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

“The last text I got from her was on Aug. 30. I don’t know if that was her texting me or not,” Petito's mother Nichole Schmidt told WFLA-TV.

Sept. 1: Laundrie returns to Florida

Petito was not with him, police said.

Laundrie drove the Ford Transit van back to Florida on Sept. 1 alone, police said. He returned to the home he shares with his parents and Petito.

Authorities located the van at the North Port home on Sept. 11, according to local police.

More: Missing North Port woman Gabby Petito's vehicle recovered, woman still not found

map: Location of the North Port home where Gabby Petito's van was found. The Florida home is where Petito lived with fiancé Brian Laundrie and his parents. © Google Maps Location of the North Port home where Gabby Petito's van was found. The Florida home is where Petito lived with fiancé Brian Laundrie and his parents.

Sept. 11: Petito's family reports her missing

Petito's family filed a missing persons report with the Suffolk County Police Department in New York.

Sept. 14: Laundrie's lawyer makes statement

“This is understandably an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family.

It is our understanding that a search has been organized for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. On behalf of the Laundrie family it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is re-united with her family.

On the advice of counsel, the Laundrie family is remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment.” 

a man standing on a beach: This police camera video provided by the Moab Police Department shows Brian Laundrie talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with Gabby Petito. © AP This police camera video provided by the Moab Police Department shows Brian Laundrie talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with Gabby Petito.

Sept. 15: Laundrie named person of interest by North Port police

A “person of interest” refers to someone who police believe could have information pertinent to a crime. 

Laundrie, person of interest: Gabby Petito's fiancé named, Florida officials say

North Port Police Chief Todd Garrison called out Laundrie's lawyer on Twitter, saying investigators need help in their search of finding Petito.

"Two people left on a trip and one person returned!"

Sept. 16: North Port Police Department holds press conference 

Gabby's father, Joe Petito, pleaded for any assistance or clues to find his daughter during a press conference Thursday at North Port City Hall

"What I need from everybody here is help," said Joe Petito, who lives in Vero Beach. 

Sept. 17: Authorities, protestors gather at Laundrie's home

Protestors gathered outside the home of Brian Laundrie on Friday night, instead of a scheduled vigil at nearby North Port City Hall. With several police cars on the block, authorities have been inside the home for more than a hour.

Detectives carried what appeared to be small brown paper evidence bags into the house and searched cars at the property.

Vigil for Gabby: North Port community gathers at vigil for Gabby Petito as search continues

Brian Laundrie is missing

North Port Police spokesman Josh Taylor told the Herald-Tribune on Friday night that Laundrie's family filed a missing person report around 5 p.m. on Brian Laundrie.

Authorities earlier this week named Laundrie as a person of interest in the disappearance of his fiancé, but he has refused to speak to police. 

Sept. 18: Search for Brian Laundrie at Carlton Reserve

At least 50 law enforcement officers combed through a massive nature preserve in southern Sarasota County on Saturday in search of Brian Laundrie. The search was called off due to darkness just before 8 p.m.

His family says they believe he entered the area earlier this week. They notified police Friday that they had not seen him since Tuesday.

Sept. 19: Search for Brian Laundrie continues Sunday

"The search for Brian Laundrie continues Sunday morning in the Carlton Reserve," North Point Police tweeted.

"A team of more than 50 looking for anything of note after his parents say this is where he went. We continue to corroborate all info in the search for him and Gabby."

Do you have information about the case?

The FBI has set up a national hotline to receive tips at 1-800-CALLFBI (225-5324). It is the primary line for all information on Petito. They are asking for anyone with information to reach out.

Contributing: Patricia McKnight, Sarasota Herald-Tribune; Associated Press

Grace Pateras is a digital producer for the USA TODAY Network. Follow her on Twitter at @gracepateras

This article originally appeared on Sarasota Herald-Tribune: Gabby Petito timeline: From road trip with Brian Laundrie to missing persons investigation

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