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Gabby Petito update: More details emerge about her final days as communities where she has been grieving

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The couple had visited Western National Parks in their van, chronicling their travels on social media with the hashtag #VanLife, before Petito disappeared. And although she has never lived in Utah, Petito’s love for nature and her time there – including an encounter with Moab Police who was captured on a body camera – the connected to the community.

“We won’t forget you. We won’t let your light go down,” vigil organizer Serena Chavez said in front of the group.

Petito’s remains were found in an undeveloped camping area in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming on Sunday. She was reported missing by her family on September 11, after her fiance, Brian Laundrie, returned home to Florida after the trip without her on September 1.

Authorities searched a Florida nature reserve for laundry. And after his death was declared a homicide on Tuesday, the FBI turned to the public, asking for help in locating him.
Prior to moving to Florida, Petito had worked as a hostess at Smoke on the Water in Wilmington, North Carolina. Her colleagues say she made everyone feel loved, according to CNN WWAY Affiliate. This is another community in which the young woman has made her mark.

“It’s not just a name. It’s not just a business. She was a person, and she was very special to a lot of people and a lot of us here,” said the CEO. of the restaurant, Lara Witschen, at WWAY. “She was a good soul, a good spirit and touched so many lives. That’s why we want to be remembered.”

Witness says he saw “commotion” involving the couple

Petito’s story has become a national obsession for many, prompting digital detectives to tread the couple’s online trail in an attempt to resolve the case. History also highlighted the nearly 90,000 active missing persons cases at the end of 2020, according to the National Crime Clearinghouse.

It also prompted people to recount Petito’s last days.

Nina Angelo and her boyfriend, Matt England, saw a “commotion” last month as Petito and Laundrie left The Merry Piglets Tex-Mex restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming, she told CNN on Wednesday.

Petito was in tears and Laundrie was visibly angry, entering and exiting the restaurant several times, showing anger towards the staff around the hostess booth, Angelo said. The couple’s waitress was also visibly shaken by the incident, said Angelo, who told CNN she had not seen any violence or physical altercation between Petito and Laundrie.

A Merry Piglets official, who declined to give her name, saw “an incident” at the restaurant on August 27 and called the FBI on Wednesday, she told CNN. The manager declined to describe what happened and said the restaurant did not have surveillance video of the incident.

Separately, Jessica Schultz saw Laundrie parked in a white van on August 26 at Grand Teton National Park, and no one appeared to be with him, she told the Chronicle of San Francisco.

And in a series of videos on TikTok, Miranda Baker said that she and her boyfriend drove Laundrie on August 29 in Wyoming – and that he claimed he was camping alone for several days while Petito returned. in their van working on social media. posts.

Baker said they picked up Laundrie while he was hitchhiking in Colter Bay, Wyoming, which is not far from where Petito’s remains were found. He offered to pay $ 200 for the ride before even getting in the car, she said.

Laundry research continues

Meanwhile, investigators are focused on finding Laundrie, who arrived at her parents’ home in North Port, Florida three weeks ago and has not spoken to police about the case.

His family told police he left the house with his backpack on September 14 and told them he was on his way to the nearby Carlton reservation.

The search for Gabby Petito's fiancé, Brian Laundrie, continues this week.  Here's why it was so hard to find him

Authorities have combed the reserve over the past few days and the search will resume on Thursday, North Port Police Department spokesman Josh Taylor said.

A team of about 10 divers from the Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office are participating in the search, said Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Kaitlyn Perez. The Sheriff’s Underwater Recovery Force team is highly specialized, she said.

“In the state of Florida we have some really unique bodies of water, from swamps and beaches to lakes and everything in between,” Perez said.

“These divers are specially trained and very talented in low visibility water bodies. They dive where you and I cannot see anything at all. They use technology and other special equipment to help them descend deep, in very deep bodies of water. ”

The North Port Police Department has “deployed a lot of resources and we are trying to cover every acre of that reserve,” said Commander Joe Fussell.

911 call from a domestic dispute

Petito’s mother received a strange text on August 27 which became her last communication, Florida police said in a recent search warrant affidavit. Petito also stopped posting on social media at that time.

Evidence from a 911 call regarding a “domestic conflict” involving Petito and Laundrie shows that the couple’s volatile relationship was not as ambitious as their sunny Instagram and YouTube lives suggested.

A man who saw the marital dispute between Petito and Laundrie in Utah last month said, “They were talking to each other aggressively, and something seemed to be wrong.”

In a handwritten affidavit, the witness said it appeared the two were arguing over control of Petito’s phone. “At one point she would hit him on the arm and / or face and try to get into the van.” The witness’s first name is Chris and the last name was redacted in the document provided by Moab City Police to CNN.

The witness said he heard Petito say, “Why do you have to be so mean? Though Chris added that he couldn’t be sure the comment was meant to be taken seriously.

What women see when they watch Gabby Petito
Police then arrested the couple and previously released police documents and body camera video reveal what followed that day. Moab city officials are investigating the Moab City Police Department’s handling of a possible domestic conflict, a city statement said.

Although Petito and Laundrie are described in a police report as having engaged in a physical fight over an argument, “the man and woman said they were in love and engaged to get married and did not desperately wanted to see anyone charged with a crime, “Officer Eric Pratt wrote in the report.

At the suggestion of the police, the couple separated for the night, according to the report, which describes Petito as “confused and emotional.”

A National Park Service ranger who also answered the call spent about 90 minutes with Petito and warned her that her relationship with Laundrie had signs of “toxic,” the ranger told Deseret News. ‘Utah.

“I begged with her to reassess the relationship, asking her if she was happy in the relationship with him, and basically saying it was an opportunity for her to find another path, to change her life,” said the ranger. Melissa Hulls. the Deseret News.

CNN has sought comments from Hulls.

CNN’s Randi Kaye and Kari Pricher, Leyla Santiago and Rebekah Riess, Amanda Watts and Joe Sutton contributed to this report.


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