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Gabby Petito case: 3 unanswered questions about her mysterious death

Who killed Gabby Petito and what led up to her death?

Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito talking to a police officer near the entrance to Arches National Park.
This still from 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.
Moab Police Department via Associated Press

The Gabby Petito case has dropped off of America’s radar in large part because both Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, are dead, bringing the case to a tragic conclusion.

Petito and Laundrie had been on a cross-country road trip this summer. But only Laundrie returned home on Sept. 1, driving Petito’s white van. On Sept. 11, Petito’s family reported her missing. Her body was found on Sept. 19 and she was later confirmed to have died by homicide. Laundrie went missing around Monday, Sept. 13. His body was found about a month later on Oct. 20.

But, per CNN, there are still three major unanswered questions in the case that need to be solved.

  1. Who killed Gabby Petito?
  2. When was Gabby Petito killed?
  3. What happened leading up to Gabby Petito’s death?

These questions remain unanswered, of course. But we have a few reports that could indicate how it happened and when she might have died.

How did Gabby Petito die?

Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue previously said that Gabby Petito died by strangulation. Her death was confirmed days after her body was found near a Wyoming national park on Sept. 19.

When was Gabby Petito killed?

This remains unclear. Blue said Petito was likely killed three to four weeks before her body was found on Sept. 19, according to my report in the Deseret News.

  • He added that Petito’s body was left in the wilderness during that time.

What happened leading up to Gabby Petito’s death?

Petito and Laundrie spent the summer traveling through the West, seeing spots such as Mystic Hot Springs and Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands and Arches national parks, as well as a brief stay in Moab, Utah. In Moab, the couple had an altercation that led police to pull them over and talk with the couple.

  • Petito’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, said she received text messages from Petito on Aug. 27 and Aug. 30, as I wrote for the Deseret News.
  • Petito reportedly sent her mom a text message, which read: “No service in Yosemite.”

And that’s all we know. These questions still remain unanswered. Police are still investigating the case, hoping to reveal more details about what happened.