(NewsNation) — In late August 2021, the death of 22-year-old Gabby Petito seized the collective attention of America, as the country watched details unravel in a case rife with unprecedented intrigue.
What possibly created so much interest around the disappearance of Petito was the seemingly double life she and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, were living. In the public eye, Petito and Laundrie appeared to be a young, happy couple traveling across country together, documenting all of it for fans on YouTube and Instagram.
Behind the scenes, however, the relationship was in turmoil. Witnesses and police had encountered Laundrie and Petito engaged in dramatic domestic disputes, incidents that shattered the veil of a happy couple they had created on social media.
Petito was reported missing on Sept. 11, 10 days after Laundrie returned to his home in Florida.
On Sept. 15, Laundrie was named a “person of interest” in Petito’s disappearance. Two days later, he, too, disappeared.
Petito’s family spent the coming days begging for help, desperate for answers as to what had happened to the missing woman. On Sept. 19, her remains were found in Wyoming. A coroner said she had died of strangulation three to four weeks before she was found. Laundrie was still missing.
An extensive manhunt for Laundrie ensued in the wilderness surrounding his Florida home. For weeks, law enforcement officials scoured the area for the man they believed had killed Petito, or at the very least, knew something about her death.
Laundrie’s body was found on Oct. 20 in the 24,000-acre Carlton nature reserve in Florida. It was later determined he had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
When Laundrie’s body was found, it could only be assumed by an interested public that he had killed Petito.
It would not be until June of this year that the American public would get to see, firsthand, the confession Laundrie had written in his journal, admitting that he had killed Petito.
The Petito and Laundrie families are now engaged in a lawsuit. The Petito family believes the Laundries knew more than they let on about where Gabby was and what had happened to her.