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tv   2020  ABC  July 8, 2022 9:01pm-11:00pm PDT

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♪ two people went on this vacation. >> gabby petito never goes outside. >> and only one returned. >> a new stunning revelation, but is it even true? >> now to some new and disturbing revelations. several pages from laundrie's notebook found near his body in florida have been made public by his family's attorney. >> this is what everybody had been wondering about what happened to gabby petito. >> it's the end of a long and emotional journey that started with a beloved and missing person. >> we've gotten leads from 30 countries. >> what a nightmare. >> this urgent search for gabby petito.
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>> where is gabby! where is gabby! >> it's a true crime story. you feel like you can participate in by making content on the internet. >> the body language, looking into the time stamps. looking for bread crumbs anywhere. >> this patch work of a story started to piece together. each of us held a piece of the puzzle. >> to me when i read the pages of the notebook i say, that's a guilty man who's trying to minimize what he did. ♪ gabby petito never goes outside. genuinely happy..- she's like, you know, come on, let me show you this. we'll go to the beach, just -- just listen to the ocean. look at the waves. look at the sand. watch the sunrise. watch the sunset. >> driving across the country all the way to california and oregon was an absolute dream.
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wish i was back, running down the beach, looking at the pacific ocean. >> she did a lot. she was very busy. she loved her friends. she was a beautiful artist, brilliant artist. just so talented. >> everybody sees the pictures of her out there as an adult, but when i close my eyes and i think of her, i still remember a little, blonde-haired, bright-blue-eyed little girl with her hair up in, you know, ponytails. >> gabby wants to be adventurous. if you look at the instagram posts, it's just very clear she just loves life and loves new experiences. >> made my favorite mango smoothie for breakfast, went on a nice little hike, had some sushi, and watched the sunset before going home to some chocolate-covered strawberries. what could be better than this?
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#21. >> the gabby petito story is important because i think everybody not only saw a little bit of someone they knew in the story, but also, frankly, maybe saw a little bit of themselves. >> the sunset. >> gabby wore her heart on her sleeve. gabby believed everything could come true. she believed in this perfect love. >> i can't wait to get back to days like this, traveling the world with you and asking strangers to take our picture. never taking moments like this for granted again. >> brian laundrie is a typical american young man. loved the outdoors, by all accounts. they met in high school. >> he was a junior when they met in high school. seems like the both of them were kind of free-spirited. >> we don't know a whole lot about brian laundrie. there's no friends or acquaintances that have really come forward and wanted to speak with us.
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if you take a look at his public instagram page, a lot of the photos are just solo with just him alone. >> brian laundrie had his own social media accounts, too, and he did his own posting. >> he definitely fashions himself as being a little edgy. >> gabby and brian knew each other in long island. that's where they're from. she came down to where he was living with his parents in their house. >> my name is kristin thorne. i'm a reporter with wabc channel 7 eyewitness news in new york. and i've been covering the gabby petito case since day one. we do know that gabby petito lived with the laundries in north port, florida, for about a 2 1/2-year period. >> brian and gabby were actually engaged before they went on this trip. >> so, we are right outside capitol reef right now in a free dispersed campsite. since we left new york, i've only set up my hammock once. >> and we're kind of, like, in
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the desert. >> you see this evolution. you see them growing. you see the excitement. you see, you know, what's happening. you watch someone grow up, right, through instagram photos. >> the petitos talked to abc australia. >> she always wanted to do this. she planned it out. she -- she knew what she wanted to do, and she knew where she wanted to go. >> i worried. i told her to be careful, be safe, you know, make sure -- to be aware of your surroundings, don't trust everybody. but i felt safe because she was with brian and i -- i felt like she would be okay. i think i thought he would take care of her. >> it's a lot easier walking up river holding someone's hand than walking alone. >> what we can tell from brian laundrie from his instagram page is that he was very into the environment, keeping the environment clean. and we can see that he eats out of melon rinds. he tries to not use plastic. >> downsizing our life to fit into this itty, bitty van was the best decision we've ever
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made. >> she wanted to create her own business of blogging for a living, and she had a unique perspective on how she was going to capture that audience. >> we know that brian and gabby purchased this van actually a year prior, and this was something that they had been planning for quite some time to do, to travel the country. i think that for a lot of young people right now, this idea of leaving everything behind, getting in a van, seeing the world, is attractive. >> i love the van. >> van life is exactly what it sounds. it's living in often a restored van or school bus and having this kind of nomadic lifestyle where you can travel all around the country. >> van life is an aspirational lifestyle, and it is something that people seek. it attracts a certain person who wants to travel and sort of see things up close and not from the
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air or from a speeding train, but traveling at their own pace. >> van life was made popular and kind of grew into people's vision of what they were seeing through this very popular film, "nomadland." >> it's fern. i need a ride to town. >> well, why? why? >> i blew my tire. >> there's kind of a joke in van life that you never really never know where you're gonna go more than a few days in advance, and that's really very true. >> it was growing in popularity largely through instagram and youtube. >> the pandemic really flipped our life on its head. the life we were living was completely opposite of what really brings us joy. >> we taught ourselves everything we needed, from solar electricity and battery power to plumbing to, you know, vehicle maintenance. >> hello hello, and good morning. it is really nice and sunny today. it's only 10:00 in the morning. >> and your hope is that you will become an influencer.
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>> the way to live a sustainable life as a van lifer is to have millions of followers online. gabby definitely wanted to be part of this community. she and brian were posting it on instagram, on youtube, and they were documenting this journey for people on the internet to essentially engage with. >> oh! >> oh, my god. >> yes! >> you got it. >> oh, my god. >> when i look at gabby's instagram, i see her building her brand. she followed a lot of people who also were doing the van life thing, too. so it looks like she was following the formula for how to get successful there. >> living in a van is a struggle. it is not the beautiful, picturesque life that a lot of internet creators paint it out to be. >> and gabby and brian were in a smaller van than i usually see people in. i imagine that's a lot of pressure. any relationship has fights, but now you're in this tiny van. there's no place else to go. i don't know what you're supposed to do when you're in
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that kind of an environment. >> life on the road is difficult. you have to pivot a lot. it changes in a millisecond, and you have to be ready for that. >> oh, my god! the tent is just coming in on me. the wind is so bad. i've just been sitting here like this for a while. >> especially for gabby and brian, they were struggling. they were not the cream of the crop van life creators. they were not going viral. they were really living hand-to-mouth. and so there was a lot of tension, you could tell, around that. >> i'd like to report a domestic dispute. we drove by, and the gentleman was slapping the girl. >> i can't feel -- i can't -- i couldn't handle that. i'm sorry. >> okay. ovider if an oral treatment is right for you. oral treatments can be taken at home and must be taken within 5 days from when symptoms first appear.
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♪ went hiking for my birthday. #22.
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one whole year's worth of adventures and stories down and a lifetime to go. i love our adventures. >> i think in a lot of her old posts, you saw that she really cared about brian. he was a figure on her page and in her life, and he really meant a lot to her. >> here's a picture from our first date, because i have so much love for you. brian asked me to marry him, and i said yes. >> the other thing to note about her posts is they are heavily edited, keeping her life beautiful on camera. >> social media is basically the highlight reel of your life. you're not posting videos of yourself fighting with your spouse. you're there to project an idealized version of yourself in your relationships. >> so, me and brian just got up and got ready, made the bed in
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the tent, set up. i think our plan for today is to just hang out here in the tent. brian's stretching, doing some morning yoga. >> so, they're visiting national parks. so, we know they stopped in colorado. then they stopped in utah. >> thank you, @gabspetito for putting up with me through utah, a topographic playground. >> they've been on this trip over a month and then on august 12th there is a phone call placed to 911. >> a witness had reported seeing gabby and brian fighting. that witness said brian had slapped gabby. >> hi, can you hear me, sir? >> yeah, i can hear you. >> hi, i'm calling -- i'm right on the corner of main street by moonflower, and we're driving by, and i'd like to report a
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domestic dispute, florida with white van. gentlemen's -- >> where's it at? >> -- 5'6", beard. >> what were they doing? >> we drove by and the gentleman was slapping the girl. >> he was slapping her? >> yes, and then we stopped. they ran up and down the sidewalk. he proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off. >> at the time these officers received that original radio call, they were under the impression that a male had assaulted a female. it was clear that there was a domestic situation occurring and that officers needed to respond. >> the police followed the van. >> driver is showing some obscure driving. >> he's driving somewhat erratically. >> possibly intoxicated. >> he's speeding. >> currently doing 45 miles an hour, zone through here is 25. oh. >> brian hit the curb. >> subject's just hit the curb. >> when they pull brian and gabby over, it's a turning point
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in this story. >> what's your guys' names? >> gabby. >> i'm brian. >> gabby, brian, okay. what's going on? how come you're crying? >> i'm just crying because we've just been fighting this morning. some personal issues. >> it was a long day. we were camping yesterday and camping got -- got flies and stuff. i'm sorry. i'm sorry i hit the -- the bump there. >> i was distracting him from driving. i'm sorry. >> can i get you to step out of the vehicle for me, ma'am? >> yeah. >> the body cam footage was a real social media-verse reality moment. huge contrast between her public instagram and their youtube videos, versus what you saw in the body camera footage, which seemed like a peek behind the curtain. >> do you want to tell me what's going on? >> yeah, i don't know. it's just, some days, i have really bad ocd and -- >> okay. >> i just -- i was just cleaning and straightening up the back of
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the van before, and i was apologizing to him and saying, "i'm sorry that i'm so mean," because sometimes i have ocd and sometimes i can get really frustrated. not, like, mean towards him. i just, like -- i guess, my vibe is, like -- i can be, like, in a bad mood. >> when i saw the body cam footage, all i thought was, this looks really toxic. and then, i thought, these are two people who are struggling. where do you go to decompress and get away from somebody when you're in the middle of a fight with somebody and you live in a tiny car together? >> so i've been building my website. so, i have been really stressed and he doesn't really believe that i could do any of it, so that's kind of been like a -- i don't know, he's, like, a downer. i don't know. we've just been fighting all morning. >> brian laundrie made light of what she was doing, that she was in a bad mood, because she was working on her little project. >> why wouldn't he let you in
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the car? >> because of your ocd? >> he told me i needed to calm down, yeah. but i'm perfectly calm. i'm calm all the time and -- >> now another law enforcement speaks to gabby about, hey, this is a toxic relationship. have you ever considered life on your own, leaving this? now think about it. >> and what's his name? is it brian? is he usually pretty patient with you? >> he definitely gets frustrated with me a lot. he definitely has anxiety, too, but -- >> well, that could be a bad combo, if you both have anxiety. it may be bad for your soul. i'm just saying. i'm not telling what to do with your life, but if you know you have anxiety, look at the -- look at the situations you can get in. you know what i mean? >> the officers question miss petito again, multiple times, and asked her directly, were you struck by mr. laundrie? >> is there something on your cheek here? looks like -- did you get hit in the face? kind of looks like something hit you in the face. >> i don't know. >> and then over on your arm.
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your shoulder, right here. that's new, huh? that's kind of a new mark. >> oh, yeah, i don't know. >> can i see the other side of your face? so, what happened here and here? >> i -- i'm not sure. it was -- i was trying to get in the back of the car and his backpack was on his back and it got me. >> so, the backpack got you? >> she had bruises on her left arm that she blamed on an inanimate object, a backpack. >> so, there's two people that came to us and told us that they saw him hit you. there's two people saying that they saw him punch you, be mean to you. >> this has never happened before. >> i've got a news flash for everybody. when brian laundrie struck her in the face in broad daylight, i guarantee you that was not the first time he had hit her. >> now, anytime we talk about demeanor, it's subjective. i'm giving you my take. gabby's pretty hysterical.
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she is defensive of herself and of brian and begins to take responsibility for what's been going on, even suggesting that she, herself, was the aggressor in any physical altercation that may have happened. >> well, to be honest, i definitely hit him first. >> where'd you hit him? >> i slapped him. >> you slapped him first, and then -- just on his face? >> he kept telling me to shut up. >> there a relationships in which women are aggressively violent toward men. but in the vast majority of domestic violence situations, the men are the aggressors, and the women, in public when questioned about it, especially by law enforcement, will often take responsibility for it out of fear that the aggressor, the man in their relationship, will be more angry if they don't. i do want to emphasize that we do not know what happened between these two people. >> we want to know the truth if
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he actually hit you. >> well, i guess. i guess, yeah, but i hit him first. >> i would've have had about 50 questions to ask her about what he's done in the past. has he ever hit you? has he ever tried to choke you out? getting her to describe the dynamic between the two of them. >> she totally covers for him. she was apologizing. she was deferential. she was upset. she was crying. she kept taking the blame. >> where did he hit you? don't -- don't worry. just be honest. >> well, he, like, grabbed my face like this -- like this. >> uh-huh. >> he didn't, like, hit me in the face. like, he didn't, like, punch me in the face or anything. >> did he slap your face or what? >> well, like, he, like, grabbed me, like, with his nail, and i guess that's why it looks -- i definitely have a cut right here, because i can feel it. >> yeah. >> so, they have a couple of questions for gabby, and depending upon how she answers those questions, that will determine the outcome. >> gabby. this is a very, very important question.
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[ crying ] throughout the moab incident, gabby is extremely distressed. >> what happened? what's going on? >> i'm just having a stress -- a very stressed morning. >> she's the one crying. she's the one gasping for breath. >> seeing her in distress in that moment, really bonded people to her. >> i thought at first, are these people high? are they sober? why are they acting so strangely? >> hey, we got a call about a male hitting a female and the two them getting in this vehicle and taking off. >> officer pratt's video shows him approach mr. laundrie while he is still seated in that white van. and officer pratt asks him
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multiple times if he has struck ms. petito. >> i -- i -- i just -- i don't want to try and defend myself by saying anything here. but i pushed her away. she -- she gets really worked up. >> they eventually take brian out of the truck. >> okay, let's go ahead and get you to step out of the vehicle. >> and talk to him, trying to figure out exactly what's happened. >> come on over here. >> mr. laundrie's demeanor at the time of the stop was typical in that he was very compliant with the officers. >> turn around for me, real quick. >> nothing. >> he is visibly unperturbed. >> tell me what's going on. >> it -- well, she just gets worked up sometimes, and i try and really distance myself from her, so, like, i locked the car and i walked away from her. >> the interesting dynamic is that brian laundrie is really calm, and there's such a discrepancy that it's almost an intentional way to discredit her experience. >> i think that our little squabble started because we
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were hanging out at the coffee shop. and when i got back to the van, there was some dirt and stuff in the van. and i moved our food around. i wouldn't even call it a disagreement. there's a few little, little things. little -- just little, relationship. i don't know if you have a relationship, but i'm sure you know. >> i've been married for over five years now, so -- >> there's a lot of little things. >> you see him connecting with the officers on an interpersonal level. also, their story was that they'd had similar kind of discord with their own relationship. >> that's one thing that people really weren't happy about. they're like, why are they offering him help on how to deal with this when this looks like it's a domestic violence situation? >> they arrived at the scene, that they noticed marks on his neck. >> you want to tell me about those scratches on your face? >> he's actually got some surface cuts. there's some blood. >> i said, let's just take a breather and let's not, you know, go anywhere. let's just calm down for a minute. i know i shouldn't have pushed her. but i was just trying to push her away.
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to go, let's take a minute. step back and breathe. she got me with her phone. >> can i see your hand? >> and that, to them, corroborated gabby's account of what had happened. >> so, you pushed her, and she hit you? >> she was -- i wasn't, i was, in, it wasn't like a push and she jumped on me. she was -- she was already -- she was already -- i don't know what -- >> swinging? >> swinging, and i was pushing. >> once you get the wheels of justice going, it's hard to put on the brakes. >> a lot of hands, a lot of nails, a lot of rings. >> you've got three scratches on your neck. you've got one on your left side of your nose. you've got one on your face here and you got -- >> it is not irrational, when he has scratches on his neck, to be asking him questions about how he got them. but what they didn't ask enough was, why did we get a call from someone saying you were hitting her? >> do you mind lifting up your right sleeve for me? i'm curious about something. yeah. what's that from? >> i suppose fingernails. but i'm not complaining.
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i'm not complaining about fingernails. >> is it bruised or tender or anything like that? >> no, no, no, no. i'm fine and i love gabby. i hope she doesn't have too many complaints about me. >> so, brian laundrie is trying to portray himself as the victim but also trying to say, but, hey, you know, it's not that big a deal. she just kind of gets this way. and i think that that was part of the problem here, is that the police ended up believing that. >> look, these are not easy situations, and i think the police were really trying to figure it out. >> so, at this point, it sounds to me like she is the primary aggressor. >> yeah. >> now, the problem with her being the primary aggressor is in an instance of domestic assault, be it a male or be it a female, we shall arrest. >> it seems to me that they chose to ignore the previous 911 call where there's clear evidence that laundrie had just
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beaten gabby petito. the entire moab incident hinged on one thing, and that is naming gabby petito as the aggressor. >> she appeared to be the aggressor, and she said she was the aggressor. now, do i believe that? no! but the police can only go on the evidence they are given. >> they had no basis on which to arrest brian. if anything, they could have arrested her. >> we can't treat this diferently than if it was a male-on-female violence. >> yeah. >> and we're going to have to charge her. >> it is also evident to me that during the course of their interactions with both parties, the officers felt that that was not the right course of action. >> in no way, shape, or form that i can perceive does what happened here -- a little slap fight between fiances who love each other and want to be together -- can i perceive that this is going to digress into
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the situation where he's going to be a battered man. >> right. >> but then again, i don't have a crystal ball. >> well, this is really bad news. so, let's talk to him first. >> brian, unfortunately, in the state of utah, the state legislature doesn't give us discretion on charges when it comes to a domestic assault. and your own companion has made it clear that she was the primary aggressor and that she was striking you and you received injuries. so, at this point, you're the victim of a domestic assault, and even if you didn't want to pursue this, you don't have a choice. >> they heard brian's story and now they have to decide what to do. what are their next steps? do they arrest gabby? brian? >> i -- i don't want to be separated. no, we're a team. please. woohoo! ♪♪ cosmic. ♪♪ you earned a lollipop. ♪♪
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so, look, i'm going to speak to you frankly. i have a daughter almost your age. and i'm looking at you not so much like a suspect, but also as kind of a victim, in the sense that the stuff you did today that contributed to this -- because you both contributed to this -- is as a result of your inability to cope with the anxiety and the stress that you're having. normally, we take people to jail, but he's trying to work it so you can just have the van. >> in some states, when there's been a domestic violence incident, there can be a mandatory separation imposed. those kinds of separations can save a life. >> nobody wanted to go to jail. they didn't want to be separated. >> i don't -- i don't want to be separated. >> are you going to have anxiety. >> yeah. no, we're a team, please >> there's not -- what is it? >> no, like, we're a team,
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please. this is gonna give me so much anxiety. could we just have, like, a driving ticket? >> okay, the very best thing i can do is call my supervisor and see if i'm missing something, here. >> she gets extremely agitated when she believes they are going to be separated and/or being separated from her van. and let me point out that it's not just a van. this is where she's living. this is also her livelihood, her dream. >> i think when miss petito is informed by the officers that there may be an impending arrest, she's frightened. >> because if we get out, i'll pay any driving ticket or parking ticket, anything. >> her reaction causes the officers to re-evaluate. those officers were heading down the path of making an arrest, and they changed direction. >> in that police report that they filed in moab, the officer made it clear that the couple stated that they were in love, they were engaged to be married, and they didn't want to see anyone go to jail that night or face any charges. >> we understand you're not even wanting to pursue this, but the
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cops have to follow the statute. >> there is no doubt in my mind that the moab police had had training in domestic violence, because they kept going back to the statute, back to what proper procedure is. >> i figured i just -- i had to make sure i at least asked. >> there was a significant debate that was occurring on the scene about the appropriateness of a physical arrest or not. >> how far do you want to go with this? the code for assault.ooked at - if you go ask her, what was your intention when you were slapping him? and she says, i wanted him to hurt or be ill or impair his physical condition, then there's nothing we can do. whatever she answers to that question will seal her fate. >> right. >> if it became clear that she had the intent to hit him and she was not acting in self-defense, the police clearly believed they would've had to arrest her. >> gabby, this is a very, very important question. how you answer this question is
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going to determine what happens next. when you slapped him those times, were you attempting to cause him physical pain or physical impairments? was that what you were attempting to do to him? >> no. i was trying to get him to stop telling me to calm down. >> well, it doesn't sound to me like she attempted to injure him. >> they did what appeared to be a pretty thorough investigation at the scene for over an hour, talking to each one of them, talking among themselves, not really getting that critical element of assault. >> all right, brian, she claims that she did not have intent to hurt you when she was slapping at you. so, technically speaking, it does not fit the letter of the code. so, i am not going to be charging her with dv. this is what i am going to do, however. i'm not going to release you guys together.
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i want you guys to stay away from each other tonight. okay? >> they separate them. one in the van, one in a hotel, and make them cool down, basically, for 24 hours. >> these kids, they didn't have any money. >> well, we're very, very, little money we have, for sure. i'm just saying that i -- >> i think seekhaven will get you a hotel. >> seekhaven, the domestic violence provider, says to them, no, we cannot pay for a hotel room for miss petito because she is identified as the primary aggressor. >> so, instead of sending her to a hotel, they send her off in the van. >> here's that. i'm giving him a ride over to the hotel. okay? so, everything's gonna be okay. >> will it be a far drive for me to get him in the morning? i'm just curious. >> i'm not going to tell you where he's gonna be at tonight. >> i know. >> like i said, i want you guys to be separated. >> i'm, i just --
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>> but i can tell you this -- >> i just don't usually drive the van, so i just wanted to make sure it's not, like, far. >> she's concerned about driving the van by herself and knowing where the hotel where he's going to be is. >> gabby asks, how near is this hotel? is he gonna be nearby? >> it is striking to listen to gabby feel like she needs brian. >> if the cops had arrested him, would gabby be alive today? would that have changed the course of these events? the hard truth? maybe. she may still be alive today if he had been arrested. or not. >> the city of moab launched an independent investigation into the handling of the incident but declined to comment at this time. >> so, after the incident in moab, they continue on their journey, and then august 25th, she posts what was her last
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photo on social media. >> gabby's final post had people really scratching their heads. it's a photo of her holding this little pumpkin in middle of the summer. what was that all about? meet ron. that man is always on. and he's on it with jardiance for type 2 diabetes. his underhand sky serve? on fire. his grilling game? on point. and his a1c? ron is on it. with the once-daily pill, jardiance. jardiance not only lowers a1c... it goes beyond to reduce the risk of cardiovascular death for adults with type 2 diabetes and known heart disease. and jardiance may help you lose some weight. jardiance may cause serious side effects, including ketoacidosis that may be fatal, dehydration that can lead to sudden worsening of kidney function, and genital yeast or urinary tract infections. a rare life-threatening bacterial infection in the skin of the perineum could occur. stop taking jardiance and call your doctor right away if you have symptoms of this infection, ketoacidosis, or an allergic reaction, and don't take it if you're on dialysis.
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so, shortly after this incident in utah where police had responded to a fight between brian and gabby, gabby is going to post this famous, now-final youtube video, where you would have no idea that this was a couple who was in a serious fight. >> all the chocolate melted. >> it's so melted, i know. it's a river of chocolate. >> you can't keep chocolate in utah. not in july. >> it was five days after the police stop in moab when something strange happens. brian goes home. >> on the 17th, brian alone hop a plane in salt lake city and flies all the way back home. >> according to the laundrie family attorney, the reason
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ask brian flew back was to pick up some items and close up a storage space to save money. that couldn't have been cheap to fly back from salt lake city to florida. it's a little weird. did they have another fight? did they need to split for a while and cool off? >> so, according to her father, gabby was in salt lake city working, really, on their youtube page, at that point. >> the whole thing seems odd to me. and particularly odd when you think in another six or seven days, she's dead. >> august 23rd, brian then flies back to utah from florida to get back with gabby, and they continue on their road trip. >> once they're back together, there's a post from gabby that really raises eyebrows. the pumpkin post. >> her last post was on august 25th. gabby, in the photo, has perfect
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hair, after being on a trip for two months in a van. and she's holding a pumpkin, and writes "happy halloween," which is odd, because it was posted on august 25th. >> so, in gabby's latest instagram post, her roots are not there, especially in comparison to some of them before that. >> it seemed as if she had taken that at some point and was planning to use it at halloween. it didn't fit in with all of her other blog postings. >> and then in late august, people saw brian get in another fight. >> at merry piglets restaurant in jackson, wyoming. witnesses reported a lot of screaming, him yelling at the restaurant staff, going in and out of the restaurant. >> he was really angry. that's the best i can describe it. he was just very visibly angry. and, in that moment, gabby reminded me a lot of how she
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seemed in that body cam video of the cops. she just seemed distraught. she seemed really upset. she was emotional. she was crying. >> please. this is gonna give me so much anxiety. >> and then people saw them get into this van and leave. >> that suggests to me that the pressure between the two of them, and in particular in brian, is building. >> what we would later know is that that was the last time gabby petito was seen in public. >> from the youtube video, their relationship seemed solid. but clearly, it wasn't showing everything. >> it does appear that their relationship was what some would term toxic. they would fight. >> according to gabby's mother, during her conversations with gabby during the trip, there appeared to be more and more tension between gabby and brian. >> so, we know that the last time gabby spoke to her mother,
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she told her mother they were in grand teton national park and they were likely headed to yellowstone. after that conversation over the phone, gabby's mother started receiving some odd text messages. >> the text message to her mother was, can you help stan? i just keeping getting his voice mails and missed calls. >> well, stan is her grandfather's name. >> and what's weird about that is that gabby never called her grandfather by his name, stan. the last contact that gabby's mother has from her daughter is august 30th. she gets a text that says only, "no service in yosemite," which is strange because it's so brief, but also they weren't going to yosemite. >> that's hundreds and hundreds of miles away. so mom knew immediately something was very, very wrong. >> gabby's mother is really concerned. she hasn't had a face-to-face video call with her daughter in
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days, and more days are passing, and now there's no contact whatsoever. where is she? >> i was texting her every day anyway, but i wasn't getting responses. by day six, seven, i was checking her social media. i didn't see any activity. i'm worried, and everybody was, like, she's fine, she's fine. they're out in the mountains. they have no signal. and i said, no, it's not like her. >> unbeknownst to gabby's mother, brian laundrie has driven gabby's van back to florida. he arrives on september 1st. >> authorities say brian used a debit card that was not his to withdraw $1,000, and he made his way all the way back home to florida with no sign of gabby. >> according to the laundries' family attorney, the card in question is gabby's debit card. >> brian laundrie shows up back
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in florida without gabby and seemingly unconcerned about her whereabouts. so, what's that about? >> 80 red lights go off in my head when i hear that he has left his fiance. >> and that's when everybody becomes deeply concerned about gabby's wellbeing and whereabouts, and deeply suspicious of brian laundrie. >> developments tonight. >> for a missing woman. >> desperate for answers. >> this is where things really get weird and where the story becomes a national story and starts to spin out of control. >> lights, camera, reporters. we are everywhere. >> the girl right here. this is what matters. >> everybody wanted to find this woman. >> it opened up this broader conversation about missing women, and specifically missing black and indigenous women and the lack of attention. >> there's an explosion on the internet. crime junkies go crazy. >> a theory that has been circulating -- >> i think he just dumped her body.
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lights, cameras, reporters. we are everywhere. >> brian admitted to killing gabby in this eight-page handwritten letter. >> two people went on a trip. one person returned. >> this girl, right here. this is what matters. >> now there's a whole new mystery. what really happened to her? we just had our first look inside brian laundrie's secret diary. >> i ended her life. i thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted. >> it's like a voice from the cave, but is he telling the truth? >> to think that brian laundrie wrote this in a notebook is really stunning. >> this is a 23-year-old man. come on. own it. take responsibility. stand up.
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tell us what you did. >> the second i think that this case is over, something else is going to happen. because that's the way it's always been -- something new comes out. >> hello, hello, and good morning. brian's stretching, doing some morning yoga. >> everything about gabby and this case is taylor made to go viral. you have you have a young attractive couple. there's controversy. >> it was so eerie and so real that i couldn't even believe that it was happening in real life. >> two people went on this vacation, and only one returned. >> wow. on this gabby petito case. >> and so they feel compelled to keep talk about her. >> gabby petito's mom. >> we need to talk, and i'm on the road. >> and then, because the case
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was so viral -- >> the theory that has been circulating -- >> i think he had just dumped her body. >> it ended up everywhere. you couldn't escape it. >> we have some new information. >> tiktok. >> i spotted gabby browsing facebook. >> when i checked the gabby petito tag on tiktok, it had over 1 billion hits today. >> this loving couple had been out on a road trip. and then brian, for whatever reason, decides that he's going to come back to florida without gabby. gabby's family hasn't heard from her in days. when they last checked in with her, things seemed to be going fine, but now they're realizing that something here is wrong. >> brian shows up back in florida on september 1st. he's in gabby's van. >> and the neighbors saw the van in the driveway. one of the neighbors told me, i did think it was strange that i didn't see gabby. but what do i know?
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i'm just a neighbor here. >> we don't know, obviously, what he told his parents as to where is gabby. >> we do know that when brian was back home in florida, at least with his family, he was interacting with them. he was there with his parents. >> the petitos have no idea that brian is home in florida without gabby, driving the van they had been traveling in. >> if brian was staying in my house and gabby returned to my house without him and -- in his vehicle, i'd be on their phone with their parents saying, listen, we got an issue. we need -- you know, we need to -- you know, we got to -- we got some stuff we gotta talk about, like, now. call me back. >> once brian got home, it appeared to be family business as usual. neighbors told me that they saw brian and his parents going for walks down the street. and then eventually, brian and his parents went camping for a few days.
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>> they were camping at fort desoto, which, you know, is our usual camping spot. and because it was labor day and the kids had school the next day, we just went for a couple of hours and we ate dinner and had s'mores around the campfire and left. there was nothing peculiar about it. >> she says she had no reason to ask about gabby. gabby never came up, and she had no reason to believe there was anything wrong. >> i'm frustrated that, in hindsight, i didn't pick up on anything. it was just a regular trip. >> it's been ten days since gabby's family has heard from her. and they are worried enough that on september 11th, they report her as a missing person. >> right now on abc action news, desperate for answers. plus the ever-expanding search for gabby petito. >> tonight, new developments in the nationwide search for a missing long island native, gabrielle petito. >> once the missing person's report has been filed, they can go ask questions. but they can't force anyone to answer them. >> north port police, when they were investigating gabby's disappearance, they were met at
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the door by brian laundrie's parents with a note with contact information for their attorney. >> it's not a crime to hirea defense lawyer, but it really looks bad. >> it certainly looks bad to gabby's mother. >> when the detective came to my door to let me know that the van was in florida with him, she also said that he had obtained a lawyer. i -- i almost fell on the ground because i was just like, "where -- where's gabby?" and that's -- that was my response to that information. and i -- i just went into shock. i knew something was -- was wrong. >> so gabby petito is officially missing. but remember, there's no evidence that brian laundrie was involved with that. the laundrie family lawyer released a statement saying they hope the search for gabby is successful and that brian will remain in the background with no comment. that may be a smart legal strategy, but not one that looks good to people following the
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case. >> his attorney, mr. bertolino, told the parents not to talk. but i think the average person is saying this is -- this is not right. >> we don't know what brian knows. i mean, that's the bottom line, and we're hopeful to talk to him. he needs to talk to us. we need to know exactly where he was, where she was, their last locations. >> brian's sister, cassie, says she was shocked to learn that gabby was missing and hasn't heard from brian since that campout. >> nothing. radio silence. i have -- i've tried to get in touch with him. phone went to voicemail. i didn't think anything of it because he's not very good at keeping his phone charged. so, everything's different when you look back on it. >> i understand with trying -- doing -- with trying to protect your son -- your son or your daughter and stuff like that. i get it. but the one thing that you're supposed to do as a parent, right? you're supposed to tell your child to stand up for the things
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that they've done. this is a 23-year-old man. come on. tell us what to you did. tell us what you didn't do. just tell us the truth. tell us something. >> why can't the police department arrest brian for a stolen vehicle? because that van was gabby's. but the police department was clear -- they had no evidence that a crime had been committed. >> but the police were able to get a search warrant for gabby's van, looking for any information on her computer hard drive that could help them. >> if she were killed in the van, do you have some body fluid that's suspicious that's either his or hers? is there an indication of a struggle inside the van? you're gonna look for anything that could potentially link brian to gabby, keeping in mind that they lived together. >> what i need from everybody here is help. the goal is still not met, and that goal is to bring gabby home safe. there's nothing else that matters to me now. this is what matters. that is it. anything else, it comes second to this.
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>> so, the attorney for the petito family puts out a statement directly to the laundries, pleading with them to come forward with information. they said, she was going to be your daughter-in-law. please help us. >> and then it all takes a turn. >> tonight, her boyfriend is a person of interest, but he's not talking. the new pleas for him to share what he knows. >> if law enforcement tells you they have a person of interest, we now know that this is a serious case. >> we've been assuming that brian laundrie was at home with his parents. but then his parents told investigators that brian had gone on a hike into a swamp in the carlton preserve. that he had left days ago and that he hadn't returned. >> when we got that alert that brian laundrie was missing, my stomach dropped. i remember looking at my phone and not being able to believe what i was reading.
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>> the question everyone wanted to know, is brian missing or is he just hiding? >> so, investigators are searching everywhere for brian laundrie, and they're soon joined by someone unexpected. >> fox news capturing dog the bounty hunter joining the search, knocking on the laundries' door. >> boom, boom, boom, boom. i really let loose on a knock. at olive garden, nobody loves alfredo quite like we do. we make it from scratch using simple ingredients like garlic, butter, cream, and fresh parmesan. so you can enjoy it poured, twirled or dipped. from that irresistible first taste to the final creamy bite with our one-of-a-kind alfredo the possibilities are endless. olive garden, we're all family here. (heartbeats) introducing icy hot pro. ice works fast... to freeze your pain and your doubt. heat makes it last. so you'll never sit this one out. new icy hot pro with 2 max-strength pain relievers.
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[ crowd chanting "where is gabby" ] >> what do you know? >> what do you know? >> in the very beginning of this investigation at brian's parents' house, media was lining the street up and down, because there were so many people, so many reporters and media outlets, in that neighborhood. >> be respectful of everyone's property, please. >> tons of equipment, lights. we are everywhere. >> the laundrie family claims very strongly that they do not know where their son is at this point.
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and they are just hoping for him to come home safely. >> we're going to turn next here to the search for that person of interest, brian laundrie, that search intensifying tonight. >> numerous law enforcement agencies are involved in the search inside the carlton reserve. they're using drones, utvs, atvs, and they're searching a heavily wooded area. 75% of it is underwater. >> they're using vehicles that can go into marshy, watered areas. >> the carlton reserve is a 25,000-acre wildlife reserve. that is twice the size of manhattan. it is massive. and i can tell you from being there, it is a rough environment. we do know that brian laundrie has quite a lot of experience camping. he made that clear on his social media pages. so is he able to survive in that type of environment? >> he reads books about it, and it wouldn't surprise me if
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he could last out there a very long time. >> my name's mykal hawke. i'm retired special forces, 25 years, combat veteran, and survival expert. if you're on the run, if he wants to survive out here for any period of time, he's got to be able to keep himself clean. he's got to be able to dry out his feet. and he's got to be able to stay hydrated. and those are massive challenges in this environment. the threats htat he faces are numerous. he got alligator. he got snakes. he gets bit one of those, if he doesn't get help within 24 hours, he's most likely gonna be dead. brian does not strike me as the type of person that has the real survival skills necessary to survive in this kind of environment. just don't think he has it. >> people are going to turn this guy in if they find him, but he might be able to survive on his own for a time or get somewhere
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else, like mexico. >> there's no border patrol on the mexican side. there's no immigration. brian laundrie could have walked across that border with his hair on fire, naked, and nobody would have seen him. >> if he would have done this correctly, he would sort of had to have front-loaded his movements. have enough cash to avoid atms, grocery stores, gas stations. >> my theory is, he's gone back to wherever he left her body to make sure that it's decomposing, that an animal ate it, that way he doesn't go to prison. >> there are obviously numerous law enforcement agencies investigating this case, but also it caught the attention of dog the bounty hunter. >> fox news, capturing dog the bounty hunter joining the search, knocking on the laundries' door. >> boom, boom, boom, boom. i really let loose on a knock. the reason i got involved in the gabby case is purely by request from our fans. this is a real hunt. this is probably, right now in
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america, the most wanted man there is. in order to find him, we gotta hunt him. he's going into the wilderness because that's what he knows and he feels protected there. we don't know if he's armed or not. >> if you have personalities like john walsh or dog the bounty hunter being involved, then that's a win. the more eyes on this case, the better. >> what's with all the resources to find this one guy who may or may not have killed this one woman? >> one thing that happened immediately after this case blew up in the media and on the internet was it opened up this broader conversation about missing women, and specifically missing black and indigenous women, and the lack of attention given to them. >> you have to remember that there are thousands of indigenous women that have gone missing in the same area gabby's body was found, and gabby's case
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luckily, has brought awareness to that. >> let's stand up for missing and murdered indigenous women. >> anna and i were just discussing that she had never heard of this missing white woman syndrome. it's a term that was coined by gwen ifill. >> anybody in true crime has seen it. this notion that we have, as a culture, to specifically fixate on young, beautiful white women. >> it's really hard to talk about the missing white woman syndrome in the context of this case, because of course we care deeply, deeply about gabby petito. but at the same time, we have to recognize that we have an outsized compassion for young white women who are missing or murdered, and we have a negligence about brown women. >> i saw a post from an indigenous page on instagram, and they specifically said, we feel very terrible for gabby's family. can we spend some of the energy that we spent focusing on her finding many of the other indigenous women who are missing across north america? >> mary johnson davis.
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kimberlena yellowhair. sarah nicole graham. >> wyoming, the last place gabby was seen, issued a report. it said in the past decade, only 18% of missing cases involving indigenous women got media coverage. >> there's a phrase in indian country that when a native american woman goes missing, she disappears twice -- once in life and once in the news. >> if you look at the data from 2020, there's 250,000 missing women. more than 100,000 of those women were women of color. >> wanda faye walker, erica nicole hunt. >> why do we have greater compassion in our hearts for gabby petito than we do for these other women? and we have to really dig deeply to ask ourselves that question. >> it's on all of you, everyone that's in this room, to do that. if you don't do that for other people that are missing, that's
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a shame, because it's not just gabby that deserves that. >> brian is missing for weeks, and the search goes on and on. >> i worry about him. i hope he's okay. and then i'm angry and i don't know what to think. everything runs through my head. i hope my brother is alive, because i want answers just as much as everybody else. >> gabby petito's boyfriend has apparently disappeared himself. >> when did he tell his parents that there was a problem? when did they call an attorney? i got questions. >> earlier today, human remains were discovered consistent with the description of gabrielle "gabby" petito. >> now it's no longer a missing person's case. it's a murder investigation. >> and amazingly, it was someone from social media who cracked the case.
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>> when we found the footage i'm like, please, please, please keep recording. please. please be on here. and we saw this white speck getting close and closer and closer . ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪
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grand teton national park, where gabby petito spoke directly with her family for the last time before she disappeared. >> the search continues for gabby petito. family, friends, and now -- >> where we are right now is the grand tetons in wyoming, just creek row, which is the camping area that brian laundrie and gabby petito were last camping at. >> law enforcement agencies on both sides of the country are looking for clues to find 22-year-old gabby petito. >> so once someone goes missing you hope you have a starting point.
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where were they at last? when did you see them? the quicker you get search teams out, the better. the reality is time's against you. in the gabby petito case, there wasn't someone coming forward saying, she left, she was wearing this. i last saw her walking in that direction -- to give searchers any kind of assistance. how are you going to cover hundred of square miles of rugged rocky terrain? i mean, what a nightmare. >> hello, hello. >> everybody wanted to find this woman, and now with the internet, people were gonna take it upon themselves to find her. suddenly we have internet sleuths. >> i heard about gabby petito roughly around the time that she was reported missing. people were like, oh, she's an internet influencer. >> it's a true crime story happening in real life, which you feel like you can participate in, you know, by making content on the internet. >> people on tiktok were immediately going to scrutinize
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every part of everyone's online presence. why is she posting with a pumpkin? why is this video framed like that? >> they're getting into gabby petito's mind and trying to align themselves to find out what happened. they're looking at the body language. they are looking into the timestamps. they're creating a map of everywhere that they traveled in this van. >> when did she really stop posting? is this her? >> the fact that she randomly posted it on august 25th with that caption and didn't tag a location seems suspicious. >> notice the capitalization is different. she never capitalizes and then she does, which is what he does in his writing. >> looking for breadcrumbs anywhere, they're hoping for any type of clue. >> august 29th is when we see brian resurface.
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and it is with a woman who's traveling through the teton national forest with her boyfriend, and they pick up hitchhikers, which by the way, is very common out there. >> in the beginning of the investigation, you didn't really know where to look for gabby petito, but then those tiktok videos by miranda baker started to come out. >> my name is miranda baker. i'm 22 years old. my boyfriend and i came into the tetons. that's when brian had approached us, and he said, "hey, i need to get a ride back to jackson. do you think you could give me a ride back?" >> he offered $200 to drive a few miles, and they thought that that was a little odd. >> he was really clean for someone who had been hiking for multiple days. that did strike me as weird, and especially his backpack. it wasn't full. it was empty. he said him and his fiance were camping at a dispersed campsite near snake river. the biggest red flag was, why would you go camping by yourself for multiple days alone with just a backpack and leave your fiancee in your van? it just doesn't make sense.
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we were driving for 15 minutes, and i had brought up, you know, why are you going to jackson hole? and once i said "jackson hole" that's when the energy shifted. >> he got very upset about that. he said, please let me out of the car. he got out of the car, and as miranda baker states, about 10, 15 seconds later, he was gone. >> just one more weird instagram anomaly with gabby and brian. >> people spent days on end on social media trying to help resolve this situation. and in the end, it was social media that helped find gabby's remains. >> my name is jenn bethune, and i travel with my husband kyle, our three kids, and four dogs in our 1983 silver eagle bus. our story is very intertwined with gabby's story.
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we're youtubers, and so we film all the time, our everyday lives. it's the freaking tetons! >> she did not know at that time, they were just driving through the teton national frest, and this van is on the side of the road. >> it was crazy to us because it had florida plates, and we're from florida. we were excited to. we can go hang with them. we can say hi. but the van looked very dark. it didn't look like anybody was there. >> they're saying they're searching the dispersed camping area. >> without all that attention, jenn bethune, who watched her video, never would've thought of a white van. >> when we found the footage, i'm, like, please, please keep recording. please keep recording. please be on here. and my husband kyle's standing next to me. and all of a sudden, we see this
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white speck getting closer and closer and closer. and we both got goosebumps all over our body. we knew it was her van as soon as the footage passed by it. it was an insane feeling. at 12:08 in the morning, i called the fbi. i think each of us that had tips and had sightings held a piece of the puzzle, and we all worked together to be able to put that puzzle together, so i don't think it was just us. i think it was a community as a whole working together to bring gabby home. >> once they were able to pinpoint the van in their go-pro footage, the police who had been searching the entire area were able to pinpoint to within a thousand feet where gabby's remains were. >> starting with breaking news here at 6:00, authorities found a body in the bridger-teton national park in wyoming. >> there is breaking news in the search for gabby petito.
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just moments ago officials say -- >> officials confirming they found a body in grand teton national park. >> remains were discovered consistent with the description of gabrielle, gabby, petito. i have moderate to severe plaque psoriasis. now, there's skyrizi. ♪ things are getting clearer ♪ ♪ yeah, i feel free ♪ ♪ to bare my skin ♪ ♪ yeah, that's all me ♪ ♪ nothing and me go hand in hand ♪ ♪ nothing on my skin, that's my new plan ♪ ♪ nothing is everything ♪ keep your skin clearer with skyrizi. most who achieved 90% clearer skin at 4 months had lasting clearance through 1 year. in another study, most people had 90% clearer skin at 3 years. and skyrizi is 4 doses a year, after 2 starter doses. ♪ it's my moment ♪ ♪ so i just gotta say ♪ ♪ nothing is everything ♪ skyrizi may increase your risk of infections and lower your ability to fight them. before treatment, your doctor should check you
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on september 19th, the fbi announced that they had located remains just outside grand teton national park in bridger-teton national forest. >> human remains were discovered consistent with the description of gabrielle "gabby" petito. >> if you go behind where that van was placed about 15 feet,
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there's a small creek. her body was placed on the creek bed, out exposed in the open. so if anybody here was trying to bury a body, good luck. you're not gonna get 6 inches before you're hitting granite rock. >> there's a question of how she died, which is eventually ruled a homicide -- not an accident, not natural causes, but a homicide. we're now looking for the person of interest in that homicide. and that person of interest is n dr all ovethe kg country. >> we are going to turn next to that search for that person of interest, brian laundrie. >> there have been spottings of him throughout florida. >> where is brian laundrie? >> as far north as north carolina. >> possible brian laundrie sightings along the appalachian trail. calls coming into 911. >> we've gotten almost as many tips on the appalachian trail as
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we have for mexico. i'm betting my money on mexico. >> brian's smile in various social media gives some insight into his comfort level in natural surroundings, no matter where he may be. >> the fact that brian has spent so much time in the outdoors living with minimal supplies makes the search for him a lot more complicated. is this person in the middle of a swamp? is he on the appalachian trail? he has the possibility of lasting out there on his own without any outside help. >> we know that brian laundrie has hiked the appalachian trail. we know he's camped there before, so that makes it likely he would return to that spot. and there were ten other sightings of brian laundrie up and down the appalachian trail. >> i wasn't sure about what he looked like, and then i went into the car and pulled up
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the photographs of him, and i'm like, 99.9% sure that was him. >> you have elements of nature and social media and true-crime dramas and podcasts and internet sleuths. it kept getting his everyday pass into this larger and larger thing. and everybody that you talk to had some kind of involvement or theory about how this was all playing out, how it was all going to end. >> one thing we haven't talked a lot about, all these misfortunate people who have been spotted as being a brian laundrie lookalike. >> one guy was mistaken for being brian laundrie so many times that he established a tiktok account dedicated to showing he wasn't the guy that cops were looking for. >> got some strange looks, like, i'm not brian. any advice on what i should say to people that think i'm brian laundrie? >> "the new yorker" reported
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u.s. marshals busted down a hotel room of a man who looked like brian laundrie and who had been hiking the appalachian trail. federal agents in riot gear and shields pointed guns at his face. the guy reportedly got his room comped and a free breakfast. but that's how intense the manhunt has gotten. >> so anybody that looks like him, beware, because, uh, he can't go anywhere in america without being spotted. >> so now the police are moving to a new phase in the investigation where they truly have a homicide. and they would be focused primarily on brian. >> i think when they use the word homicide, they wanted to make it clear that there was no ambiguity about what had happened to gabby. gabby had been killed by someone else. she had not walked off and been eaten by an animal. she hadn't drowned. she'd been killed.
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>> stay behind the tape. >> what do you know! >> as the weeks grew on, outside brian's parents' house then protesters and neighbors from surrounding areas started to gather. and they started shouting. >> what do you know about gabby? you need to come out and talk to authorities? >> but where is brian? we would have the answers if we had this guy. and so we need him because we need to know what happened. and it just has lit this fire of justice needs to be done. ♪♪ giorgio, look. the peanut butter box is here. ralph, that's the chewy pharmacy box with our flea and tick meds. it's not peanut butter. i know, i know. but every time the box comes, we get the peanut butter. yes, because mom takes the meds out of the box and puts them in the peanut butter. sounds like we're getting peanut butter. yes, but that is the chewy pharmacy box. ♪ the peanut butter box is here. ♪ ♪ the peanut butter box is here ♪ alright, i'm out.
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tonight, breaking news in the gabby petito case. what the coroner in wyoming has now determined. >> in the manner of death of gabrielle venora petito, we find the cause and manner to be --
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cause, death by strangulation, and manner is homicide. >> the cause of ath gabby petito, with this being throttling, manual strangulation, these are real, up-close crimes. >> strangulation is a very personal way to kill, right? you're feeling the life being snuffed out of a person. >> and why that's important is that when you start to look at domestic homicides that have strangulation in them, almost invariably there's been attempts to do non-fatal strangulation prior. >> where did he hit you? don't -- don't worry. just be honest. >> well, he, like, grabbed my face, just like -- like this. >> so, is that any history in gabby and brian's relationship? obviously, we don't know the answer to that question, but it might be there. >> now, numerous questions were asked. they were asking dr. blue, what state of decomposition was gabby's body found in? did dr. blue believe the body
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was moved or if gabby was killed dr. brent blue was very clear that under wyoming law, he could not comment on those details. >> all we know is that she was strangled, it's a homicide, she was not pregnant, and the coroner referred to domestic violence. >> unfortunately, this is only one of -- of many deaths around the country of people who are involved in domestic violence. >> and now all of the energy that the public had poured into finding gabby petito is directed at finding brian laundrie. >> the nationwide manhunt for laundrie, still the only named person of interest in petito's murder after he returned from their cross-country road trip without her. >> he was going cross country with gabby. they're looking for him out west, in the south, and now, they're focusing on florida, not far from where his parents lived. >> his parents decide that
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they're going to actually go out and help with the search. and they go to an area in the park that they had told the police to search and had been looked at but had been underwater. >> they find exactly what they've been looking for. >> earlier today, investigators found what appear to be human remains along with personal items. >> and i get a call -- they probably found brian laundrie. all of the media's now rushing over to the entrance trying to get the best spot there and crowding around as they wait for this announcement. >> once we're there, we see cadaver dogs are back out at the scene. the medical examiner has arrived at carlton reserve. this morning, the month-long manhunt for gabby petito's boyfriend, brian laundrie, ending where it began. the fbi using dental records to confirm the remains found
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wednesday in florida's carlton nature reserve are his. >> this is the spot that his parents said they believed he had gone the entire time. so it makes you think, was this whole time -- was everyone just circling around the area? >> police say that a backpack, notebook, and human remains, which are now being described as skeletal, were found in an area that brian used to frequent. >> so, have you gotten any other information at all from the notebook, from the backpack, anything like that? >> none at all. >> do they think he committed suicide? >> let's wait for the medical examiner, if they can come up with some other explanation for the cause of death. you know, we're going to accept that. if not, i guess we're going to have to accept that brian did kill himself. >> a month after brian was found in the park, the medical examiner released his findings from the autopsy -- brian killed himself. he shot himself in the head. >> what was in the backpack that was found near the body?
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we know that there was a notebook, but what was in the notebook? how did this beautiful, adventure-filled trip for this young couple end? >> we're about to find out. [ music: "good time" by anthony ramos ] she has curly hair like mine. we have the same glasses. she's smart like me. we're gonna go to the moon. [ boy giggling ] she's my new best friend. best friends for all kids. ♪ ♪ hey, got you a drink. thanks! ♪ ♪
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brian laundrie and gabby petito set out on this beautiful adventure together in july of 2021. and now, many months later, we're left in a position wondering what happened to them on this trip. >> gabby petito never goes outside. >> could there be a written end to this story?
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>> we don't know what's in that notebook that was in his backpack. that is a big question. did he write in it? is there anything in there about gabby? >> brian's dead. he's never going to be prosecuted for killing gabby. but the petitos want somebody held accountable, and they believe that brian's parents knew more than they're admitting. >> the parents of slain 22-year-old gabby petito filing a civil lawsuit claiming brian laundrie's parents knew about their daughter's murder and said nothing while trying to help their son get away. >> and the laundries are like, wait a second, okay, we don't have any obligation, any duty to tell you what we know. they had a right to be silent. >> they're not required under any law to tell anybody anything. >> while all these legal battles are going on about the civil case, a huge development in the story. >> now to some new and disturbing revelations in the
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brian laundrie/gabby petito case. >> the laundrie family does get brian's belongings back from the fbi, including the notebook. >> the attorney for the laundrie family releases the actual pages from brian laundrie's notebook. >> seeing brian's handwriting in this notebook is stunning to everybody. so, while we have seen people pick apart this entire case, trying to analyze everything. is this really gabby? when was this picture taken? now people can read for themselves what brian laundrie says happened. >> and it is shocking what's in it. >> gabby, i wish i was right at your side. >> brian's writing begins very beautifully. >> the pages in this notebook seem to be a letter to gabby right. it's dear gabby. but it's also, like, kind of all his thoughts and emotions. >> he thinks about how they used to fall asleep under the stars together, how she was like family to his family.
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>> i loved you more than anything. i've lost our whole future together, every moment we could have cherished. >> and then it goes from this beautiful sort of love letter to this very serious, scary situation. >> rushing back to our car, trying to cross the streams of spread creek before it got too dark to see, too cold. i hear a splash and a scream. >> brian wrote in his notebook in a lot of pain.hile she was o >> but she was freezing, shaking violently. >> brian claims he wasn't sure exactly where they were. he didn't think he could make it back to the van. >> she said little, lapsing between violent shakes, gasping in pain, begging for an end to her pain. >> brain says he killed gabby as a form of mercy. >> i ended her life. i thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted.
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but i see now all the mistakes i made. >> a mercy killing. >> and i think the line that really sticks with everybody is that last line. >> i have killed myself by this creek in the hopes that animals may tear me apart, that it may make some of her family happy. please pick up all of my things. gabby hated people who litter. >> gabby's parents are not buying the explanation that brian gives. >> the petitos release a statement saying that they don't believe anything that's in this notebook, that this narrative that brian has, they believe, concocted is not true and that's not what happened. >> gabby's mother posted on twitter that she was fed up. and one of her hashtags was, "the truth will be revealed." and that's what she hopes will happen through the lawsuit against the laundries. >> a jury trial is set for august 2023. >> they were looking forward to
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learning more about what the police have. >> i've spoken to joe petito about this lawsuit, and he says this is not about the money. this is about holding the laundries responsible for what they may have known about what happened to gabby. >> the laundries deny all the allegations. unfortunately, with both of those two young people gone, they died with most of the information. >> so despite what is in this notebook, they still firmly believe that domestic violence played a part in what happened here. >> i want you guys to stay away from each other. >> the petitos have created the gabby petito foundation to make sure that anybody that is in a relationship where they are being harmed, that they get help to get out of it. >> gabby wanted to be an influencer. in a way -- think about it --
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gabby was an influencer because we all cared about her, because we saw her from her posts. >> she wanted a chance to be internet famous. ask kids, what do you wanna be when you grow up? these days. "i wanna be on youtube. i wanna be on twitch." so this is what a lot of kids want. >> she really wanted people to go to her instagram page and say, "hey, that's a really cool place." >> these two young people who set out with all these dreams, and it ended just so violently and tragically and senselessly. >> what you see on social media is not always true. it's not always the happy pictures of people hugging and kissing and being in love. you can't help people when you don't know what reality is. it is a warning for all of us about how you react to what you see, how you believe what you see. >> brian and gabby, no matter what, everything aside, were young. they had their whole lives ahead of them.
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recently joe petito put on social media a picture of himself and gabby when she was very little. and he wrote with it, emptying our storage unit and come across this. take as many photos, videos, as you can with your loved ones. brian laundrie's own words in that notebook, but of course some still question if his words are the truth. >> and the painful truth is the petitos and laundries are two sets of parents left with grief and an incredible sense of loss. that's our program for tonight. i'm amy robach. >> i'm david muir. for all of us here at "20/20" and abc news, good night.
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