Hundreds of thousands of people go missing in the United States every year. Some return home safely, some are never seen again, and, sadly, some end up becoming victims of violent crimes.
And the general public never hears about the vast majority of these cases because of the sheer number of people who go missing.
But every once in a while, a missing person story gains traction in the media, stays in the news for weeks or months, and the entire nation ends up being riveted by it.
The most recent example involves Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie, a couple whose tragic story continues to evolve with new information and a seemingly never-ending list of unanswered questions.
The couple, Petito, 22, and Laundrie, 23, lived with Laundrie’s parents in North Port, Florida. On July 2, Petito and Laundrie left Florida and embarked on a cross-country road trip to visit national and state parks.
Petito documented her and Laundrie’s travels on social media and said that the two were “traveling the world in our tiny van.”
But underneath all the romanticism of life on the road and their supposed love for each other was an apparent dark side to Petito and Laundrie’s relationship.
On August 12, police in Moab, Utah had an encounter with Petito and Laundrie after the couple apparently had a fight with each other. Bodycam footage from an officer showed a crying Petito describing the altercation. Petito and Laundrie both declined to press charges but it’s clear from the footage that things were not going well between the couple.
A few weeks later, on August 27, a couple in Jackson, Wyoming said they saw Petito and Laundrie fighting when they were leaving a restaurant. One of the witnesses said that Petito was crying and that an obviously angry Laundrie went in and out of the restaurant several times and appeared to be angry at the staff.
Gabby Petito kept in contact with her family during her cross-country trip, but they reported that all contact with her suddenly ceased at the end of August. On August 30, Petito’s family received a text from her that read, “No service in Yosemite.” Her family does not believe that she sent the text message.
Curiously, Brian Laundrie came back to his home in Florida on September 1 by himself. On September 11, Gabby Petito’s family in New York reported her missing as they had been unable to get in touch with her. Law enforcement officials went to the Laundrie home in North Port, Florida that evening to talk to the family about Petito’s whereabouts but they were only given information about how to speak to the family’s attorney.
The case took another strange turn when Brian Laundrie disappeared on September 13 after he said he was going for a hike in a nature reserve. Suspicion was now focused on the young man.
#FBIDenver appreciates the collaboration of all agencies and personnel who assisted in the search, recovery, and identification efforts. @NatlParkService @forestservice @GrandTetonNPS @BridgerTetonNF pic.twitter.com/2CWXNBMUn2
— FBI Denver (@FBIDenver) September 21, 2021
Another month passed and Brian Laundrie was nowhere to be found. Was he hiding out in a swamp in his home state? Was he on the run?
A hiker near the Appalachian Trail reported that he was certain he encountered the missing man in North Carolina and that the man he believed to be Laundrie asked him how he could drive to California only using back roads.
The lead seemed promising until finally, on October 20, Laundrie’s remains were found in a nature reserve not far from the Laundrie family home in Florida. Next to his remains were a backpack with a journal.
As of now, the cause of Laundrie’s death is inconclusive. Authorities continue to try to piece together how this terrible chain of events unfolded.
We will continue to update our readers when developments arise in this story.
What are your thoughts about this case?
Do you have any theories or ideas? If so, please talk to us in the comments.
By the way, if you love true crime, check out these 32 mysteries that people are dying to solve!
1. Mistakes were made.
The Springfield Three.
I lived in Springfield when it happened. Can’t help but think if their friends hadn’t cleaned up the house the next morning, it would have been solved in a week.
2. He has to be somewhere.
7 year old disappeared after a science fair in 2010. No body found or anything. Last year was the 10 year mark which is crazy cause I remember watching the news story when it first happened.
From what I remember there was some blaming between the step parents and the bio parents since the step mom was last to see him, but no charges against either were made.
3. Poor Lizzie. Probably.
I have two.
Why did Agatha Christie disappear for 11 days?
Whether or not Lizzie Borden killed her parents.
4. It’s just so weird.
The Tamám Shud case/Somerton Man case. It’s just so weird, I want to know what the hell happened.
For the unaware: December 1, 1948 (had to check date) an unknown man shows up dead in a public park bench in southern Australia. He had American made products on him, a plane ticket with a false name, an unused ticket out of town, and a ticket into town. They also found a piece of paper on him with “Tamam Shud” was found rolled up in his pants.
This is the extent of what is actually known about the man. Tamam Shud is from a book (a special edition of “Rubaiyat of Omar Khayyam.” It’s the last words of the edition and translates to “finished”) they found that the man had thrown into the backseat of a random car (at least as far as anyone knows it was random, no one in the house knew who the man was).
Police think he looked “britishier” than his effects showed, but that’s also just speculation. No camera footage was found, the used tickets had no information that lead to the man’s identification, and what few marks WERE on the man’s clothing provided no leads.
They didn’t seem to be the man’s name, nor the name of any dry cleaners in the entire country. What dry cleaners there were, the man was wearing a suit, didn’t recognize the man, nor had any record of servicing the man’s clothing.
5. I also really want to know.
The Keddie cabin murders have always been really intriguing to me.
6. Insane for sure.
The Dresden Green Vault robbery from a couple years ago, not a serial killer thing like most others in this comment section but this one is insane to me, not every day a couple people get away with a 1 billion euro heist.
My favorite part is that the alarms go off after the cameras kick back on, there is an audi reported to be associated with the robbery, and 5 minutes later an audi is found on fire.
7. It’s certainly intriguing.
Honestly, the Jack the Ripper stuff.
There’s speculation that he skipped town and came to the US and became known as a different serial killer.
I’d like to know if that’s true.
8. Sometimes it’s personal.
My grandfather’s murder.
He was robbed at gunpoint… the gun they used was his.
This happened when my mom was very young.
9. Both solid answers.
Sister Catherine Cesnik.
And the Dyatlov pass incident.
Look them up. They’re terrifying.
10. We all want answers.
The Delphi murders.
Two 14 year old little girls murdered. One of them got a video of a guy who approached them on the bridge near where their bodies were found.
The police are being very sketchy and releasing very few details.
The victims would be graduating high school this year and we are no closer to knowing what happened to them.
11. We’ll probably never know.
There is a lot of stuff we “know” based on what the government (any, not just the US) let’s us know/let’s “slip.”
I want to know what the things are that we DON’T know about.
What are the real secrets hidden away behind so many layers of tape, security and reactions that when someone DOES come out and report are either “disappeared,” “completed suicide,” or denounced and placed in advance psychiatric care.
12. They just can’t close it.
My grandmother’s murder.
Police botched the case and made all evidence regarding the two main suspects inadmissible in court.
So they were pretty sure they knew who was responsible but they couldn’t use the evidence so the case has been open for 30 years now.
13. A sad state of affairs.
It would be tough to choose because of the sheer amount of women and children who have gone missing.
I’d feel guilty no matter which I chose.
14. I think she’s still alive.
The Disappearance Of Amy Bradley.
15. A good theory.
Why did the civilizations in the Bronze Age disappear?
What happened to them? What was the cause of their demise?
I think the prevailing theory is that it was a series of pretty badly timed disasters.
A series of earthquakes occurred during a severe drought that triggered a big refugee event.
16. A brush with fame.
Young nurse in Saskatoon, SK, Canada in 1962 who disappeared then two weeks later was found dead and partially buried near a river flowing through the city.
The year before she was in a beauty Queen contest and won. The grand prize was that she was serenaded on stage by none other than Johnny Cash. Cash vacationed in the area and had co-written a song called The Girl From Saskatoon. Upon hearing of her death, Cash swore he’d never play or record the song again.
The case remains unsolved.
Except her next door neighbour was a guy who in 1929 was the young unwilling accomplice in a series of murders in California.
His story was part of a 2008 Hollywood movie.
17. Not a satisfying answer.
An obscure one: the 1987 Arkansas murders of Don Henry and Kevin Ives, the “Boys on the Tracks.”
Unsolved mysteries covered this. Wrong place at the wrong time?
18. I think they drowned.
I’m surprised this isn’t mention it but what happen to the Anglin brothers or the escapees of the inescapable Alcatraz.
They made the most genius plan on escaping an inescapable prisonI am curious on what happen to them afterwards, little to no evidence was found and they just escape without a trace.
19. We all want answers.
My father’s murder.
I just want to know who the hell killed him, it’s been 21 years already I don’t even want vengeance just answers.
20. It’s definitely bizarre.
I desperately want to know what happened to Flight 370.
Sure there are a shit ton of theories, but the plane has still never been found, and as such it’s basically impossible to know what actually happened.
Hijacking? Suicide? Malfunction? Conspiracy?
We will probably never known.
But damn do I want to.
21. Into thin air.
I’m from SW Missouri.
Our big mystery is the case of “the 3 missing women”.
A mother, her daughter and the daughters best friend disappeared on graduation night.
Happened in the early 90s.
Lots of wild theories of who and what happened to them.
22. It changes everyone.
Kidnapping of Morgan Nick
I was 10 and lived not even 10 minutes from the ball field at the time even playing on it as a child. So that case has been extremely close to me growing up.
23. They must have!
What was Andrew Cunanan’s real reason for killing Giovanni Versace?
And did they really know each other.
I have so many questions!
24. We’d all like to know.
Oslo Plaza woman.
I want to know who she is!
What happened to her?
25. Alternate universe.
I have somehow lost a dozen pocket knives over time… Where do they go? Is someone pranking me for 30 years?
Have I stabbed people and blocked it out? I have to know!!!
26. The entire world is interested.
Why has no one said this yet?
Man I would LOVE to know where his body is.
27. A really old one.
What happened to Louis le Prince??
Thought to have captured the first film and mysteriously went missing.
Brilliant documentary called “the first film”
28. We’re never going to know.
Australian beach, random dead guy.
The Taman Shud case.
29. Missing pieces.
I thought her “friends” did it, but now I think a random predator killed her the same night she disappeared.
Asha Degree. Why did she leave her house in the middle of the night, what happened to her and where is she? I lean towards she was being groomed and “ran away” to meet the person grooming her.
Delphi. Who the HELL is bridge guy and what does LE know/not know? What is the missing piece?
Brian Shaffer, Danielle Imbo/Richard Petrone, Mark Himebaugh… I can go on.
30. Both cases should be solved.
Delphi Indiana murders
Burger Chef Murders Indianapolis.
The burger chef case is tragic. 4 teenagers murdered because one of their brothers owed someone money.
Imagine the guilt he must live with.
31. Where do they GO?
Odd number of socks coming out of the dryer.
I have a long held theory that we may be gaining EXTRA socks- all we really know is that the count is off, so we just assume we are losing.
An extension of this theory is that there is no net gain/loss worldwide, just transport. You lose a sock, it turns up with me, we are both odd, and both assume we lost one.
32. A rabbit hole indeed.
Everything Jeffrey Epstien. I want ALL THE ANSWERS.
A crazy rabbit hole that no one will ever find to tell about. Someone knows something.
Maybe not how he died, but no way all of his secrets stayed secrets.
That’s a lot of mystery, yeah? Anything really resonate with you?
Let us know in the comments!