SLEUTHS have spotted an uncanny similarity between the Gabby Petito case and the disappearance of Kristin Smart 25 years ago.
Amateur detectives called out parallels between the two cases as a manhunt continues for Gabby's fugitive fiance Brian Laundrie.
Gabby, 22, was found dead in Wyoming on September 19 after she vanished on a cross country road trip with Laundrie, who had returned home to Florida without her two weeks earlier.
Laundrie was deemed a person of interest after he himself disappeared on September 13 after allegedly telling his parents he was going camping.
A quarter-century earlier, Smart's disappearance from California Polytechnic State University in May 1996 captured similar nationwide attention.
Smart's classmate Paul Flores, now 44, was charged with her murder earlier this year despite the fact that her body was never found.
His father, 80-year-old Ruben Flores, is also facing charges for allegedly helping dispose of Smart's body.
Sleuths sounding off on Twitter have speculated that Laundrie's parents may have aided him in a similar manner to Flores'.
Laundrie's parents Chris and Roberta have not been officially implicated in Gabby's death or disappearance.
An attorney for the family announced last week that authorities had asked Chris to aid in the investigation.
Read our Gabby Petito live blog for the very latest news and updates…
Smart was 19 years old when she vanished from the Cal Poly campus in San Luis Obispo on May 25, 1996.
Flores was the last person to be seen with her when he allegedly walked her home from a party.
In court hearings this year, prosecutors asserted that Flores killed Smart while trying to rape her in his dorm room.
Prosecutors said Smart's body was once buried under a deck at Ruben Flores' home before being moved to another unknown location.
Both Flores and his father pleaded not guilty to charges in Smart's death.
Laundrie's parents came under scrutiny in the wake of Gabby's disappearance after it appeared they did not question why their son returned from his road trip in her van but without her.
Chris and Roberta reported Laundrie missing on September 17, just two days before Gabby's body was discovered in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park.
In the following weeks, speculation has continued to mount over how much Laundrie's parents know about his whereabouts and his potential involvement in Gabby's homicide.
Suspicions reached new heights earlier this week when the Laundrie family attorney revealed his parents gave the incorrect date for his alleged disappearance into the Carlton Reserve in September.
Laundrie "left to hike in the preserve" on Monday, September 13, not Tuesday, September 14, as originally shared, according to a statement from lawyer Steven Bertolino.
"The Laundries were basing the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events,” Bertolino said.
Two days later Bertolino announced that Chris and Roberta were offering law enforcement a helping hand in the reserve search for their son.
Some sleuths have predicted that Gabby's case will continue to dog the Laundries for years to come – as the Smart case did for the Flores family.
Gabby Petito timeline
Gabby Petito, 22, was last seen on August 24, leaving a hotel in Utah. Here is a timeline of Gabby Petito’s disappearance:
- June 2021 – Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie set off on a cross-country trip across the US.
- July 4 – Gabby posts photos of herself barefoot in Gove County, Kansas.
- July 8 – Gabby posts photos of herself at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
- July 18 – Gabby and Brian post photos of themselves at Utah's Zion National Park.
- August 12 – Body camera footage was released in September showing an encounter Brian and Gabby had with police in Utah. Police confirmed that no significant injuries were reported.
- August 19 – Gabby and Brian post a video on their YouTube channel chronicling their trip.
- August 24 – Gabby is spotted leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- August 25 – Gabby Facetimes her mom, Nichole Schmidt, for the final time. In a later police report, Schmidt said her conversations with her daughter revealed "more and more tension" between her and Brian.
- August 25 – Gabby also posts her last Instagram. No location is given.
- August 27 – Gabby is seen for what's believed to be the final time. Witnesses claim they saw Brian in an explosive argument with staff at a restaurant in Jackson Hole, leaving Gabby in tears.
- August 27 – Four hours later, travel bloggers driving through Grand Teton National Park drive past the couple's van "abandoned" on a dirt road.
- September 1 – Brian returns home to Florida without Gabby.
- September 11 – Gabby's parents report her missing to Suffolk County police.
- September 14 – Brian's family issues a statement saying he has retained an attorney and will not be cooperating with investigators.
- September 14 – Brian is allegedly last seen by his family. He reportedly told them he was going hiking in Cartlon Reserve but failed to return.
- September 15 – Florida's North Port police announce Brian is a person of interest in the case. He is not charged with any crime.
- September 16 – Utah police release body camera footage of the police encounter with Brian and Gabby.
- September 17 – Brian's parents say they have not seen their son in a couple of days and report him missing.
- September 18 – Police announce they were searching Carlton Reserve in Florida for Brian. Police announce they have not found anything.
- September 19 – Authorities in Wyoming say they found a body in Grand Teton National Park. The FBI announces the body was believed to be Gabby's but a full forensic identification needs to be completed first to confirm.
- September 20 – Police execute a search warrant on Laundrie's home, seizing his silver Mustang and a hard drive that may contain "evidence relevant to proving that a felony has been committed."
- September 21 – Officials announce they will be conducting an autopsy on the remains found in Wyoming to confirm whether or not they belong to Gabby. Police also resumed their search for Laundrie, this time on the Venice side of Carlton Reserve.
- September 21 – The FBI announced the body found in Wyoming was identified as Gabby's. The cause of death was not yet revealed.
- September 21 – The Teton County Coroner's office said Gabby's official cause of death was still pending but the initial manner of death is homicide.
- September 22 – Police continue to scour Carlton Reserve for a trace of Laundrie but yield no leads. A specialist dive team is called in to assist with the hunt.
- September 23 – Officials announced a federal arrest warrant for Brian was issued.
- September 26 – Gabby's funeral was held on Long Island, New York.
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