Story at a glance:
- Gabby Petito’s disappearance has people on social media acting like detectives — and it appears some have actually been effective in helping authorities.
- Two YouTubers may have led authorities to her van.
- A couple on TikTok believe they picked up Brian Laundrie, Petito's boyfriend, who was hitchhiking.
The notoriety of Gabby Petito’s disappearance has people on social media acting like detectives — and it appears some have actually been effective in helping authorities.
The death of Petito, whose body was found on Sunday in Bridger-Teton National Forest, has the internet determined to solve the mystery behind her death, The New York Post reported.
With the help of two YouTube videos from users who volunteered their services while they were on a trip to the location of her death, they noticed the van that might have belonged to Petito.
“Most agencies don’t have that many detectives to canvass for witnesses, to canvass for any kind of evidence,” retired NYPD Detective Michael Alcazar told The Washington Post.
“Now we have so many eyes out there, millions of civilian investigators, because now they’re on the lookout. It’s kind of like an Amber Alert, but more effective.”
As The Hill previously reported, FBI agents have served and are executing a search warrant at the Florida home of Petito's boyfriend Brian Laundrie, who last week was named a person of interest in her disappearance.
A body, confirmed by the FBI to be Petito’s, was located on Sunday in Wyoming.
“The #FBI is executing a court-authorized search warrant today at the Laundrie residence in North Port, FL relevant to the Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Petito investigation,” the FBI’s Tampa field office tweeted on Monday. "No further details can be provided since this is an active and ongoing investigation.”
On Sunday, YouTubers Jenn and Kyle Bethune posted that, while on their own cross-country trip to Grand Teton National Park, they obtained footage of Petito’s van.
“We came across a white van that had Florida plates,” Jenn Bethune said. “A small white van. We were going to stop and say hi because we’re from Florida, too, but the van was completely dark. There was nobody there, so we decided to continue on our way.”
The Washington Post reports that one TikTok user posted about how she believes she gave Laundrie a ride as a hitchhiker on Aug. 29 in Grand Teton National Park.
READ MORE STORIES FROM CHANGING AMERICA