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Gabby Petito’s father calls for new missing persons database law

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Gabby Petito's dad doesn't expect closure from Brian Laundrie's notebook

The FBI will have pieced together Brian Laundrie’s “digital footprint” and be aware of his movements and communications in the days before his death, according to one expert.

Laundrie’s remains are being examined by a forensic anthropologist in Sarasota County to try to determine his cause of death.

Authorities are also trying to repair a personal notebook retrieved from a dry bag near his body as part of their investigation into the death of his girlfriend Gabby Petito.

Crucial to their investigation will be Laundrie’s digital communications, including his texts and emails, use of social media, and internet browsing history prior to his death.

Ms Petito’s family strongly suspect that Laundrie was impersonating her in text messages after her death to try to confuse them and the police.

Cellphone records should also be able to track Laundrie’s movements between Wyoming and Florida, where he returned to on 1 September.

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Welcome to the live blog

Welcome to The Independent’s continuing live coverage of the Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie case. Follow along for the latest updates throughout the day.

Graig Graziosi1 November 2021 14:35
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The little-known reporter who broke the biggest story in America

After spending every waking moment of the past seven weeks covering the Gabby Petito case, NewsNation correspondent Brian Entin is finally taking a day off to spend time with his golden retriever, Shelby.

He told The Independent about how he and his camerawoman would arrive at the Laundrie family home around 6am each morning and remain there until midnight before retiring to get a couple of hours of sleep at a nearby hotel, while a freelance cameraman monitored the scene in case anything of interest happened.

The case profoundly affected Mr Entin, who continues to honour Petito’s legacy through his journalism by providing a platform for stories on domestic abuse while also drawing attention to other missing persons cases across America.

My colleague Bevan Hurley reports on how Mr Entin became one of the most trusted journalists covering the case that gripped millions of people around the world.

The little-known reporter who broke the biggest story in America

The reporter who became the most trusted source of information in the Petito-Laundrie story says the truth will eventually come out. ‘I think the FBI knows a lot of those questions and they will be resolved.’ he tells Bevin Hurley

Celine Wadhera5 November 2021 15:05
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‘That was one of the moments I got kind of emotional'

NewsNation correspondent Brian Entin says he found bodycam footage showing a distraught Gabby Petito speaking to Moab police officers after a fight with Brian Laundrie deeply distressing to watch.

“That was one of the moments I got kind of emotional. I felt it was especially sad.”

He said the release of footage from the 12 August encounter with cops altered people’s perceptions of the couple, who had shared seemingly idyllic photos and videos of their van-life trip.

“All we had seen up until that point was the YouTube video and the Instagram posts, and all of these beautiful images of Gabby and Brian, and when that video came out it was like, ‘oh my gosh there’s another side that we didn’t really know about.’

“That was the moment that we thought, ‘OK there’s another side to this.’ And I think people’s fascination with the case got even more intense.”

The little-known reporter who broke the biggest story in America

The journalist who became the most trusted source of information in the Petito-Laundrie story says the truth will eventually come out. ‘I think the FBI knows a lot of those questions and they will be resolved.’ he tells Bevin Hurley

Bevan Hurley5 November 2021 16:10
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‘Gabby’s law’: Joseph Petito calls on states to make it compulsory to report missing persons cases to national database

Gabby Petito’s father is calling on states to make it compulsory to report missing person cases to a national database.

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) is a federally funded resource centre to help law enforcement track cases.

The site is described by cold case investigators as the nation’s most effective database for tracking missing persons, but many law enforcement agencies don’t use it.

Only 10 states have passed legislation requiring law enforcement to report missing persons cases.

Joseph Petito, whose daughter was killed during a van-life tour, has become a vocal campaigner in trying to improve the way missing persons cases are investigated.

On Wednesday, he asked his 100,000 followers on Twitter: “Should every state make it a law to report to http://Namus.gov or create a site so that all the missing in all states can be found in 1 database? If yes, tag all the politicians to help make it so.”

Ms Petito’s parents established the Gabby Petito Foundation to assist other families reunite with their missing children and loved ones.

Bevan Hurley5 November 2021 17:10
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Timeline of events in Petito-Laundrie case

2 July – Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie leave New York for van-life road trip.

12 August – The couple is seen arguing in Moab City, Utah. Concerned bystanders call the police, who intervene, capturing the altercation on video on the officers’ body camera. One officer describes the incident as a “mental health crisis”.

17 August – Laundrie flies from Salt Lake City, Utah, to Tampa, Florida, alone, to collect some items and close a storage unit as the couple allegedly contemplates extending their road trip.

23 August – Laundrie returns to Salt Lake City to rejoin Petito.

24 August – Petito spotted checking out of a hotel in Salt Lake City with Laundrie.

25 August – Petito has a video call with her mother.

27 August – Louisiana couple see Petito and Laundrie involved in a “commotion” at the Merry Piglets Tex-Mex restaurant in Jackson, Wyoming. Last known sighting of Petito.

30 August – last text messages sent from Petito’s phone.

1 September – Laundrie returns to North Port, Florida, where the couple lived, without Gabby.

11 September – Petito’s family launch missing person’s investigation

14 September – Police declare Laundrie a “person of interest” in the case.

17 September – Laundrie’s family call investigators to their home, admit Brian has been missing since 14 September.

19 September – FBI announce that a body has been discovered in Wyoming, believed to be Petito.

20 September – FBI search the Laundrie home, declared it a crime scene.

21 September – Petito family attorney confirms that the body found in Wyoming is Gabby. FBI confirm her death to be a homicide.

23 September – FBI issue federal arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie, related to “activities following the death of Gabby”.

12 October – Teton County Coroner announces Petito’s cause of death was strangulation.

20 October – Human remains discovered in Florida’s Carlton Reserve, alongside personal items that belonged to Laundrie.

21 October – FBI match Laundrie’s dental records to human remains found in the Carlton Reserve.

Bevan Hurley5 November 2021 18:22
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Abduction survivor Elizabeth Smart on Petito family ‘closure’

ICYMI: Abduction survivor Elizabeth Smart said that the Petito family will not receive the kind of “closure” that she got when her captor was sentenced.

“I mean, I can only speak for me. And I know, when I finally saw that my captor was sentenced, that the trial happened, that it was finished, it really was the closing of a chapter,” she told CBS News.

Smart was 14 when she was kidnapped in June 2002 from her home in Utah by Brian David Mitchell. She was held captive for approximately nine months before she was found 18 miles from her home. Her captor was subsequently given a life sentence in 2011.

“So, I can only imagine for Gabby Petito’s heartbroken family that there is a sense of loss and lack and they don’t get to receive that. And they don’t get to receive that kind of closure.”

Bevan Hurley5 November 2021 19:19
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Gabby Petito: Everything we know about YouTuber’s murder on ‘dream’ road trip

Gabby Petito, 22, an aspiring social media star who went missing in late August during a “dream” cross-country road trip from New York to Oregon with her fiancé, was strangled to death, and her body found in a Wyoming national park.

More than a month later, skeletal human remains found inside the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in Florida were confirmed to be those of her fiancé Brian Laundrie. There had been no trace of him throughout a weeks-long hunt.

“The FBI and our partners remain dedicated to ensuring that anyone responsible for or complicit in Ms Petito’s death is held accountable for their actions,” special agent in charge Michael Schneider said.

Read more here:

Everything we know about Gabby Petito’s murder on ‘dream’ road trip

Social media star was killed while on a road trip with her fiancé Brian Laundrie, who was later found dead in Florida after a weeks-long manhunt

Bevan Hurley5 November 2021 20:41
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‘Gabby’s law’: Joseph Petito calls on states to make it compulsory to report missing persons cases to national database

Gabby Petito’s father is calling on states to make it compulsory to report missing person cases to a national database.

The National Missing and Unidentified Persons System (NamUs) is a federally funded resource centre to help law enforcement track cases.

The site is described by cold case investigators as the nation’s most effective database for tracking missing persons, but many law enforcement agencies don’t use it.

Only 10 states have passed legislation requiring law enforcement to report missing persons cases.

Joseph Petito, whose daughter was killed during a van-life tour, has become a vocal campaigner in trying to improve the way missing persons cases are investigated.

On Wednesday, he asked his 100,000 followers on Twitter: “Should every state make it a law to report to http://Namus.gov or create a site so that all the missing in all states can be found in 1 database? If yes, tag all the politicians to help make it so.”

Bevan Hurley5 November 2021 21:40
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NewsNation reporter Brian Entin: ‘I became obsessed with not missing anything’

NewsNation reporter Brian Entin, who covered the Gabby Petito case from 14 September, told The Independent that he became “obsessed” with it.

“Once I was invested in it, I thought, ‘I’m in this ‘til the end’. I wanted to make sure I didn’t miss any of the critical moments,” he told The Independent.

Mr Entin and his camerawoman had only planned to stay in North Port, Florida – where Petito had lived with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie and his family – for a couple of days. But as the case took off and captured the attention of millions across America and the world, they remained camped out next door to the Laundrie family home, focused on the story for seven weeks.

“There was such a hunger for information in real time it became a challenge, because there wasn’t always confirmed information to give,” he said, talking about the 16-hour days he spent reporting on the case.

“My approach was the same as in other cases, just tweet out information as fast as possible, but make sure it was totally accurate. Stick to the facts.”

Throughout the case, Mr Entin liaised with local authorities, police and the Laundrie and Petito families, covered protests, vigils and searches of the Carlton reserve, and ultimately became one of the most trusted sources of information as the tragic story eventually unravelled.

Bevan Hurley5 November 2021 22:40
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The dark themes that permeate Brian Laundrie’s digital footprint

Brian Laundrie’s final social media post, around the time of his girlfriend Gabby Petito’s death, shows the cover of a book titled Burnt Out, how to cope with autistic burnout.

While it’s unknown whether Laundrie was on the autism spectrum, he and Ms Petito told officers attending a domestic disturbance in Utah on 12 August they were suffering from a mental health breakdown.

Laundrie’s social media posts often feature macabre drawings and references to violent video games.

In a separate Pinterest post, text at the bottom of an image reads: “Don’t try to find me,” and “I have finally escaped my ‘master’s’ wicked clutches. To the others I say: JOIN ME. Bite the hand that feeds you. Vive La Liberte.”

Read the full story here...

The dark themes permeating Brian Laundrie’s digital footprint

Brian Laundrie’s social media accounts may provide clues to his state of mind before the death of his girlfriend Gabby Petito

Bevan Hurley5 November 2021 23:40

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