Timeline: 'Van life' road trip ends in death of Gabby Petito

By Dan Whitcomb

(Reuters) - The FBI confirmed on Thursday that the remains found in a Florida wilderness area were those of Brian Laundrie, the boyfriend of murdered woman Gabby Petito.

Petito disappeared on a cross-country road trip with Laundrie and her body was recovered in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming last month. Authorities ruled her death a homicide, saying she was killed by strangulation.

Laundrie, whom police named as a person of interest in the case, had been missing for more than a month.

Here is a timeline of events in the case:


Petito and Laundrie leave his parents' home in North Port, Florida, in her white 2012 Ford Transit van. They drive north to Petito's home state of New York to attend her brother's high school graduation.


July 2: The couple leaves New York, headed west on a lengthy road trip across the United States. Petito plans to document the trip on YouTube and Instagram.

July 4 - 22: Petito posts a series of photos as they travel through Kansas, Colorado and Utah, including stops at several national parks. In one caption she cheerfully describes the "adventure" of the trip.

July 26 - 31: Petito posts several pictures from Utah. In one of the photos, at Mystic Hot Springs, Laundrie is seen kissing her.


Aug. 12: Petito posts images from Arches National Park in Utah, describing a "calm morning."

That same day a 911 caller reports seeing the couple fighting in front of the Moonflower Community Cooperative in Moab, Utah. The caller says Laundrie was slapping and hitting Petito.

Moab police officers stop the van on a highway near Arches National Park. In body camera video, Petito is seen sobbing as she describes an argument that escalated to a physical altercation. Police tell the couple to spend the night apart.

Aug. 19: Petito posts two more photographs to Instagram, one of them showing the white van from above. No location is given.

Aug. 24: Petito is seen for the last time, leaving a Salt Lake City hotel.

Aug. 25: Petito posts her final images to Instagram. No location is given. Her mother, Nicole Schmidt, speaks to her for the last time. Petito tells her mother that the couple is headed to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Aug. 27: Travel bloggers driving through Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming record on video what they believe to be the white van parked along a dirt road near Spread Creek Dispersed Campground.


Sept. 1: Laundrie returns alone to North Port, Florida, in the white van.

Sept. 11: Petito's family reports her missing to police in Suffolk County, New York. A search begins.

Sept 14: Laundrie's family issues a statement saying Brian has retained an attorney and will not be speaking to law enforcement.

Sept. 15: Police name Laundrie a person of interest in the case and say he has refused to speak to investigators.

Sept. 17: Laundrie's parents report him missing to police, saying they have not seen him in three days, when he left to go hiking alone in the Carlton Reserve wilderness. Police begin a search for Laundrie in the swampy reserve.

Sept. 19: A body is recovered in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming, less than 1,000 feet (305 m)from where the travel bloggers spotted the van near Spread Creek Dispersed Campground.

Sept. 21: An autopsy is conducted on the remains. FBI agents confirm they belong to Petito and that her death was a homicide. The search for Laundrie continues.


Oct. 12: Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue says Petito was killed by strangulation about three to four weeks before her body was found on Sept. 19.

Oct. 21: Dental records conducted on human remains found in a Florida wilderness park identify them as belonging to Laundrie.

(Reporting by Dan Whitcomb in Los Angeles; Editing by Aurora Ellis and Karishma Singh)