In America, the whole internet was looking for her. Gabby Petito, 22 years old, she is the girl who has officially disappeared since September 11. This Wednesday the worst omens were fulfilled and it was confirmed that she was murdered. This is what the autopsy has declared in a preliminary way after the authorities found the body of the influencer in a national park in Wyoming. The macabre news is a point and followed in the investigation that has kept the whole United States in suspense; and has made YouTube and TikTok users a major part of the case.
Petito went on a trip with his partner, Brian Laundrie, by national parks across the United States. The influencer published almost all the experiences of the journey with the van, the van with which they traveled a part of the western United States. Until the situation began to get complicated. At the moment, it is known that there was a fight between the two and that a person called 911 after seeing how Laundrie slapped Petito. In the end, the 22-year-old missing girl claimed that it was she who had attacked her boyfriend and it all came to nothing. It was just after that when he started show no signs of life and stopped calling his family.
Brian Laundrie’s whereabouts unknown since September 1 and, after the authorities classified Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito’s cause of death as preliminary “homicide”, finding it has become a priority. It is possible that TikTok users can help the authorities in this search, just as they have done to find the influencer.
Youtubers find the key clue
Since Petito disappeared, the case has become a sensation in the United States. Most have followed all news in real time, with thousands of reactions and publications, as well as possible explanations of what could have happened to Petito. From interested in the case they have even become investigators. A couple of influencers have come to give the key clue for the authorities to find the body of the 22-year-old girl.
Jenn and Kyle Bethune were also traveling the country in a van when they learned about the case of the missing girl through social networks. They realized that they had been in the same park where the couple He chose Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming as one of the destinations of his road trip. Quickly, they began to review the video they had recorded for their channel when they were there because they remembered seeing a white truck which could be Petito and Laundrie’s. So it was. They quickly notified the authorities, who went there and they found the human remains that belonged to Petito.
“We came across a white van that had Florida license plates, a small white van. We were going to stop and say hello because we are also from Florida, but the van was completely dark, there was nobody thereso we decided to continue on our way, “said Jenn Bethune.
The video of the couple in which they believe they have seen the van has, as of the time of publication of this article, more than 2.5 million views.
Gabby Petito and the hashtag that marks the investigation
Informal investigators on the case also abounded on TikTok. The New York Times gave as an example Paris campbell, a girl who has posted about 40 videos on TikTok with the latest news, as well as an analysis on the possible causes of Gabby Petito’s disappearance and possible clues. One of the missing girl’s relatives, who claimed to be her cousin, wrote to Campbell to thank her for her interest in the case.
Like Campbell, thousands of other people have published theories about the Petito case. They have searched his Instagram account and even his Spotify playlists for possible tracks. As information about the young American increased, interest in social media grew. Until this Tuesday, The #GabbyPetito hashtag had more than 500 million interactions. Although it is not the first time that a case like this has attracted attention on the different platforms, Petito’s is being developed in real time and the efforts to find it -before the authorities did- and now to know what has happened has few precedents.
‘Instagram is like the photo in the milk carton’
The positive part of this involvement in social networks by the Petito case are the clues that users have given to the authorities, such as the location of the van provided by Jenn and Kyle Bethune. The not so good part is the misleading information that some users have given. Especially those who say they have seen Laundrie while he is still missing and that he has confused the police authorities.
The publications have given clues to the Police, but have also confused them
Despite everything, the truthful information about the case has made up for all the misinformation that may have prompted the posts, opinions, and possible clues about what happened to Gabby Petito. If the impact of the case had been less, it would never have been possible to know where the body of the young influencer was.
Michael Alcazar, a retired detective in New York, told the Associated Press that Petito’s Instagram account was a key piece in getting investigators to begin the investigation and social media was generally a source of advice for them. “Instagram is like the photo on the milk carton, except it reaches a lot of people quickly.”, he opined.
The other ‘Gabby Petito’ from TikTok
It is not a new phenomenon, however. Vox magazine recalled that there is a subreddit called UnresolvedMysteries dedicated to investigating unsolved cases. In the case of Gabby Petito, the novelty is that TikTok has become the most used channel for sharing opinions and information.
Amateur investigators or detectives have found their place in the great world of the internet. Especially when it comes to unsolved crimes. Is he Lauren Spierer case, a 20-year-old girl who disappeared on June 3, 2011 after a night out with friends.
A TikTok user posted a video that went viral in which he referred to a network of trafficking of women orchestrated by an online casino. The tiktoker, with more than 3 million followers and with other publications related to conspiracy theories, compared the image of a woman victim of this alleged network with that of Lauren Spierer.
The mother of the missing young woman, although she announced that the hypothesis was discarded, sent the TikTok video to the authorities. The publication of the tiktoker was, however, a way for the case to have a greater echo on social networks on the 10th anniversary of the disappearance of the young American.
Another case of a missing person was resurrected thanks to TikTok. It is the case of Brian schaffer, an Ohio medical student who disappeared in 2006. The American went out with his friends one night and, after parting ways with the group, a security camera recorded him talking to two women. Then, apparently, he went back into the bar. He was never seen again.
The police investigation has failed to find a clear clue as to what happened to Schaffer that night. The possibility that he went to live elsewhere without notifying anyone is even being considered. The case has not been long in being remembered in a TikTok video.
Gabby Petito does not live, but the fight continues
These cases, among others, have had a significant impact on social networks. Although it has little to do with the viralization and interest in the disappearance and death of Gabby Petito in such a short period of time. Probably because of the ability to follow the case practically live and to be able to “collaborate” with the investigation from the first moment.
There is another person saying that he saw Brian parking the van on August 26, he says he was not sure but now that there are other people saying that they saw him from the same place around the same hours, he is sure it is him. He also contacted the FBI pic.twitter.com/oa9iwr2RKO
– eva △ (@evaversuss) September 19, 2021
A key clue from a couple of youtubers was what the police needed to find Petito’s body. Now we need to know how and why the 22-year-old girl died and, above all, the involvement and whereabouts of Brian Laundrie.
There are already several tracks. One TikTok user explained that she drove Laundrie into her car after he hitchhiked. Another girl also says that she saw him with the van and reported it to the Police. With an almost entire country pending Brian Laundrie, it might just be a matter of time before they found him. Social networks are attentive.