The discovery of Gabby Petito’s body may have been aided by TikTokers who shared their evidence online.
The 22-year-old went missing in late August on a road trip with her fiance Brian Laundrie – he returned home alone and refused to tell authorities where she was when she was listed as a missing person on September 11th.
He quickly disappeared too, and online detectives took charge of the case. Over half a billion TikTok users have seen the #GabbyPetito hashtag since it went missing.
Petito’s body was later found and identified later in the Grand Teton National Park area of Wyoming on Tuesday and the FBI confirmed she died in homicide, pending a final autopsy.
These particular social media accounts are believed to have helped advance the investigation in a significant way by leading authorities to his body.
1. The TikToker who claimed to have picked up Laundrie when he was alone
Miranda Baker posted TikTok videos on September 17 explaining that she and her boyfriend picked up Laundrie while he was hitchhiking on August 29.
The couple claim they took him to Grand Teton National Park, where Petito’s body was found, and that Laundrie offered $ 200 for a ride of just 10 miles.
When Baker told him she was on her way to Jackson Hole, Laundrie urged him to stop so he could get out.
Baker recalled: “He got restless. It looked like he needed to get out, he was a little nervous. And that’s when things got weird.
He would have said he was going to find “someone else” to hitchhike.
The North Port Police Department later confirmed that they had spoken to Baker about his testimony.
2. The TikToker who apparently saw Laundrie alone in Spread Creek
Jessica Shultz also posted videos online after telling the FBI she saw a white pickup truck that is believed to have been the pickup Laundrie and Petito drove on their road trip.
She said she saw him near Grand Teton National Park on August 26 – a day after Petito’s last video call with his mother, believed to be the 22-year-old’s last confirmed sighting – and that ‘she saw Laundrie play in a strange way.
Shultz claimed Petito was not there when Laundrie parked his van at Spread Creek.
On TikTok, Shultz added, “He was very awkward and confused and that was just him, there was no Gabby.”
She claimed she advised the FBI to search for Petito near Spread Creek after the incident – and the body was found near that area on Sunday.
She alleged that the FBI also told her, “You are the ones who really put us in the right place, so thank you. “
3. YouTubers who saw the abandoned van and Petito were driving
Jenn and Kyle Bethune say they saw the couple’s van on August 27, the day Petito is said to have gone missing, in the scattered camping area of Spread Creek, where his body was later found.
They said, “We came across a white pickup truck that had Florida plates, a little white pickup truck.
“We were going to stop and say hello because we are also from Florida, but the van was completely dark, there was no one there so we decided to continue on our way.”
They said the van appeared to be “abandoned” when they passed it.
In images captured from their GoPro and posted to YouTube, the Bethunes also speculated that they could see a dark shape digging into a field beyond the trees behind the van.
Petito’s family said they and the FBI were aware of the Bethunes video.
The investigation continues
The FBI is still calling on members of the public to come forward if they have any additional information about the case.
“For photos and details, please see the FBI poster looking for information for Ms. Petito. Relevant information can be submitted to the FBI online at tips.fbi.gov, or by phone at 1-800-CALL-FBI or 303-628-7171.
“Photos and videos can be downloaded through the FBI’s digital media advice line dedicated to this case: fbi.gov/petito. “
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