This beautiful young woman had her life taken away from her on what was supposed to be the road trip of a lifetime. The main suspect, her boyfriend, Whomst had been traveling alongside her, is now on the run from law enforcement. Daunting footage from that same trip has since been released by police and this heartbreaking case is slowly unraveling for the world to see.
Welcome and welcome back to Twisted Minds. My name is James and today we will be taking a deep dive into the tragic passing of Gabby Petito, a bright young lady who had her life taken from her at just the young age of 22. Gabby was described by her mother as being a fun-loving person who just wanted to go on adventures and see the world. Sadly, her world came crashing down around her in September of 2021 when she lost her life at the hands of a violent criminal.
Gabby Petito was born on March 19, 1999. She would grow up in a typical American household surrounded by family and friends who cared for her deeply. Most of her childhood remains a mystery as her family is doing their best to keep much of her personal information private. However, one look at Gabby’s social media reveals a lot about her lifestyle. She also often posted photos from her travels around the country showing herself on mountainsides, downtown areas, national tourist locations, and many wonderful locations that many of us could only dream of visiting.
We know that right before the time of her passing, Gabby and Bryan worked at a Publix grocery store in Florida. The two had been working long hours at the store so that they could save up money for a road trip they had been planning. Gabby was so dedicated to making this trip a reality that she even took up a second job working at a juice bar and cafe. She would often describe herself as a nutritionist and this job seemed to have been an outlet for her to express her more health-conscious passions. Considering the couple lived an unordinary lifestyle of van living, Gabby uploaded TikToks showing off her unique approach to life with some going viral.
This resulted in her disappearance becoming one of the most publicized in social media history. In the years before her disappearance, Gabby had been attending Bayport Blue Point High School in New York. It was here that she had met her longtime boyfriend, Brian. The two graduated from high school in 2017, but it wouldn’t be until 2019 that they would begin a relationship together. They eventually moved in together, living with Brian’s parents in Florida later on in 2019.
By July of the following year, their relationship was going so well that they decided to get engaged, planning to get married a few years later. In the meantime, they had been prepping for a four-month trip in their 2012 Ford Transit Connect van. The two spent a lot of time converting the van into a makeshift camper, planning to live in the van for several months while traveling across the continent. They set off for their trip in July of 2021, and it seems as though they planned on returning sometime around November.
After traveling together for just about four or five weeks, the relationship between Brian and Gabby began to crumble. On August 12, 2021, a witness called the police while the two were in Utah. The witness claimed to have seen the two fighting outside of the Moonflower Community cooperative. The report claimed that not only were the two verbally aggressive toward one another but that Brian had slapped Gabby at least once, later returning to assault her a second time, the witness felt that things were about to get out of hand and asked for the police to come to the scene as quickly as possible. Utah police would arrive just a few minutes later, but the two had already left the scene of the incident.
However, police continued to search for the pair, stopping them in traffic near the entrance of a National Park that was located close by. When an officer approached the car, he immediately noticed that Gabby had been crying and could barely breathe between her sobs. Something terrible had happened between these two, but they did their best to tell their story to the officers. When the officer asked Gabby what had happened, he said that she could barely speak due to the severe stress she was under, but she told the officer that she had been struggling with personal issues. This entire ordeal was recorded on one of the policeman’s body cams and has since been released to the public, the officer would later state in his police report.
At no point in the investigation did Gabrielle stop crying, breathing heavily, or composing a sentence without needing to wipe away tears, wipe her nose, or rub her knees with her hands. This incident and the Coinciding police report are what have caused many people to have a negative opinion of Gabby’s boyfriend, Brian. If you were to take this report at face value, it paints a clear picture of Brian being an abuser, with Gabby being a submissive partner. However, the story isn’t quite this simple.
According to Brian, the two had been bickering with one another after they’d become agitated from traveling together for such a long time. When speaking with police, Gabby admitted that she had struck Brian at least once with this taking place a short while before the witness called the police in Utah. However, I think we can all agree that a woman instigating violence should not result in a man reciprocating violence. Rather, the man physically grabs or controls the situation. Instead, in the footage, they both claim to have gotten into an argument with Gabby, escalating the argument of physical violence.
Brian then suggested that the two take a few minutes apart from one another, proposing that Gabby take a walk to calm down, then come back to the van. When she had cooled off, Gabby accused Brian of conspiring against her, feeling as though he would get into the van and drive away after she had walked off. After police learned all the details about the situation, the couple agreed that they did not want to file charges against one another. Instead, police made arrangements for Brian to spend the night in a nearby hotel with Gabby staying in the van. This would give them much-needed time apart and allow them to cool off for the evening, then continue their trip in the morning.
However, as time tells, this, time apart was nowhere near enough.
Police later classified the incident as a mental and emotional health break. Police let them both walk away without any charges. The entire recording from the event was released in mid-September, a month after the situation. When interpreting the footage after Gabby’s disappearance, it’s clear that Brian was the abuser in the relationship with his charisma and charm, enabling him to hide in plain sight even from the police, who watched the one-hour ordeal unfold in front of their eyes. On August 20, 412 days after the altercation, staff at the Fairfield By Marriott Hotel near Salt Lake City reported seeing Gabby requesting a room at the hotel for the evening.
She would later speak to her mother over FaceTime and said that the two were heading towards Yellowstone National Park. Two days later, on August 26, Gabby posted a photo to her Instagram account, with this being the final social media post from Gabby before she went missing. However, her mother would continue to receive text messages from Gabby’s phone until August 30. Just before this, on August 27, Gabby’s mother received a text message from her phone that read, can you help Stan? I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls.
This message took her mother by surprise, as Stan was her grandfather. The message was concerning because she had never referred to her grandfather by his first name before. A final message was sent to Gabby’s mother on August 30 that simply read, no Service in Yosemite. Two days later, on September 1, Brian would return home to his family in Florida, driving the couple’s van. However, Gabby was not with him.
Gabby’s mother would wait until September 11 to file a missing person’s report after failing to hear from Gabby for nearly two weeks.
Once police caught word about Gabby’s disappearance, Brian’s home was the first place that they had searched for clues. They inspected the couple’s van as well and eventually towed it to the police station to continue their investigation. Investigators found a hard drive in the van that would later be checked for evidence after they obtained a search warrant. By the following day, Brian was named as a person of interest in Gabby’s disappearance. Neither he nor his parents would talk with police officers, and after hiring a lawyer, the family was told to remain silent and fewer charges were placed against them.