On Sept. 11, 2021, Gabby Petito was reported missing. Her family had last heard from the 22-year-old the last week in August while she was on a road trip with her fiance, Brian Laundrie. At the time, she was leaving Utah and headed for Grand Teton National Park.
Eight days after she was reported missing, her remains were found in Teton County, Wyoming. Laundrie, who had not cooperated with police, was considered a suspect (his remains were identified in October at a reserve in his home state of Florida).
It’s a story that dominated the news cycle. Petito’s name was mentioned 844 times in a single week on national television, according to a count by The Washington Post. Users on social media — particularly TikTok and Instagram, where Petito had been actively sharing details of the van trip — became fascinated by the case, upping the coverage through non-traditional media channels. No matter where you were on the internet, the attempt to find Gabby and solve her case was there, too.
Daniel Robinson, Buckeye, AZ, last seen 06/23/21, age 24
“I feel like there’s a lot that wasn’t answered for me regarding my son’s case,” David Robinson told ABC News. “I’m still searching for those answers and I’m going to keep trying until I get them.” A simple Google search about Robinson turns up a fraction of the coverage Petito garnered. Many…