MOAB CITY, Utah (NewsNation Now) — The tragic case of missing traveler Gabby Petito captured a nation, launching a countrywide investigation and sparking a broader conversation about missing person cases in America.
The 22-year-old blogger, who family members described as “a free-spirited mind” and “always happy,” vanished while on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend in August. Petito’s body was found at a camping area in Wyoming in September, days after a nationwide search was launched.
But what happened in Petito’s final days and in the time authorities can’t account for? Here’s what we know about her final days through an interactive timeline.
This is part of a NewsNation special report retracing Petito’s road trip. You can watch the full special here.
JULY 2: PETITO, LAUNDRIE LEAVE FOR ROAD TRIP
Petito and Laundrie leave on a cross-country road trip to national parks out west in Colorado, Utah and Wyoming.
The couple documents their travels on both their personal Instagrams and a travel account under the name “Nomadic Statik.”
The couple had previously gone on an extended road trip together in the camper van.
Aug. 12: Petito, Laundrie spotted at Moonflower Co-Op
Petito and Laundrie are seen at the Moonflower Community Cooperative in Moab City, Utah. Around this time, Utah authorities receive a 911 call reporting an alleged domestic violence incident between two people believed to be Laundrie and Petito.
A witness told the Grand County Sheriff’s Office that he saw a man slap a woman while walking through the town and that he proceeded to hit her before the two got in their van and drove off.
“We drove by and the gentleman was slapping the girl,” the witness said. “They ran up and down the sidewalk, he proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car, and they drove off.”
You can listen to the 911 call below. This content may be disturbing for some viewers. Viewer discretion is advised.
Moab City police in Utah respond to reports of the alleged physical interaction between Petito and Laundrie after spotting the van reported in the 911 call.
Hourlong body camera footage from the investigation shows officers responding to the 911 call with Petito crying “uncontrollably,” saying the pair had been having “little arguments” that day. Authorities said Laundrie told officers the couple had been traveling for four to five months, which “created emotional strain between them and increased the number of arguments.”
More bodycam video from a different angle shows Petito telling an officer Laundrie grabbed her jaw, but she hit him “a couple times” first.
“I really want this family to understand where our hearts are right now,” Moab City Police assistant chief Braydon Palmer told NewsNation’s Brian Entin. “It has been emotionally trying on us. We don’t deal with this. We don’t deal with this every day.”
Aug. 24: Laundrie returns to Florida, PETITO checks out of utah hotel
Laundrie flies home from Salt Lake City to Tampa Aug. 17. The Laundrie family lawyer issued a statement in September explaining why Laundrie went home.
“Brian flew home to Tampa from SLC on 08/17 and returned to SLC on 08/23 to rejoin Gabby,” Steven Bertolino said in a statement to NewsNation. “To my knowledge Brian and Gabby paid for the flights as they were sharing expenses. Brian flew home to obtain some items and empty and close the storage unit to save money as they contemplated extending the road trip.”
During this time, Petito stays in a Salt Lake City hotel. NewsNation is working to confirm what day she checked into the hotel, but Petito was staying in the hotel by Aug. 21 when she spoke with her father and he ordered her food.
Petito and Laundrie checked out of the hotel together on Aug. 24., according to Salt Lake City television reports.
Aug. 25: Petito’s mom last speaks with her
Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, last speaks with her daughter. She said the couple was near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
Aug. 27: Petito, Laundrie seen at Wyoming restaurant
Witnesses say they saw Petito and Laundrie fighting at the Merry Piglets restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming. One eyewitness watched what she described as a “full-blown incident” between the couple.
“They like left abruptly, and [Petito] was standing on the sidewalk crying and [Laundrie] walked back in and was, like, screaming at the hostess and then walked back out,” Nina Angelo told Newsweek. “And then he walked back in, like, four more times to talk to the manager and to, like, tell the hostess off.”
The Merry Piglets restaurant also confirmed in an Instagram post that they spotted the couple and have been in contact with the FBI since.
However, NewsNation’s Brian Entin spoke with the manager of the restaurant off-camera who said the incident “wasn’t what everyone said.”
The manager, who didn’t want to be on camera, said there were no loud voices, no one got angry and no fit was thrown. The manager said Petito and Laundrie left the restaurant without paying so a server followed them outside. The pair then paid the bill out on the street, with the server noting that Laundrie was calm.
Laundrie and Petito then went back inside the restaurant together with Petito asking for her money back, the manager said. The restaurant said they were not going to give the money back, so the pair left, the manager said. Surveillance video of the interaction has since been deleted.
Aug. 27: Petito’s van seen on the side of the road
YouTubers Jenn and Kyle Bethune shot footage of their trip to Grand Teton National Park. Weeks later, the couple reviewed the footage, spotting a van on the side of the road that matched the description of the one Petito and Laundrie traveled in.
Sept. 11: Petito is reported missing
Family members report Petito missing to Suffolk County Police in New York after she did not respond to calls and texts for several days
Sept. 19: Gabby Petito’s body is found in Wyoming
NewsNation is airing a special report on Petito’s final days tonight at 9/8c on NewsNation Prime. You can watch the full special here.