THE travel vloggers who managed to capture Gabby Petito’s van pulled off the side of a dirt road near Grand Teton National Park felt “goosebumps” when they searched and found the footage.
Jenn recounted the moment when she and her husband happened to drive past Gabby’s white Ford Transit van that was "abandoned" on the roadside.
"We both got goosebumps all over our body,” Bethune said in an interview with ABC's 20/20.
“We knew it was her van as soon as the footage passed by it."
Gabby, 22, and her 23-year-old ex-fiance Brian Laundrie had decided to put off college and pool their cash together to buy and customize her white Ford Transit van.
They started their road trip on July 2 and planned to visit Portland, Oregon so they could spend time with a friend for Halloween.
The couple converted the van into a camper and documented their experiences at national parks on social.
Jenn Bethune said like Gabby and Brian, she and Kyle were roaming the US.
She recalled coming up on the van and feeling giddy when by the van’s Florida plates.
Gabby was living with Brian at his parents’ North Port, Florida home.
“And we're like 'We could go hang out with them,’ or go say ‘Hi’ – but the van was very dark.”
Jenn recalled the van that had been the young couples’ chariot to live out a carefree couple months, appeared to be left alone and lifeless.
“It didn't look like anyone was there,” she said in the 20/20 interview.
GABBY MISSING TO MURDERED
The couple were witnessed in a confrontation at the restaurant Merry Piglets, where Brian allegedly left and returned to the restaurant around four times, continuing the conflict.
Gabby was last seen alive while the couple were in Salt Lake City back on August 24.
A day later there would be one final Instagram post until she vanished.
On August 27, Petito's mother Nicole Schmidt confirmed that she was sent an odd text from Gabby's phone.
It read: "Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls."
Stan is Gabby's grandfather, however Schmidt was skeptical because her daughter didn’t refer to him by his first name.
She’d received another uncharacteristic text from Gabby on August 30: "no service in yosemite".
CRITICAL FOOTAGE HELPS FIND GABBY
Brian returned to his Florida parents’ home on September 1.
Ten days later, his fiancee was reported missing.
That’s when authorities pushed the public and especially fellow campers to look closer at their photos, video and think back to whether they were in the Grand Teton Park in late August.
“I had got tagged on a story on Instagram by someone saying that the police timeline has changed,” Jenn Bethune said.
She and her husband then replayed their dashcam footage to see if indeed there might be something they recorded that could connect to the missing young woman.
“When we found the footage I'm like 'Please, please keep recording,” she said. “Please, please be on here.”
And she found video of the that abandoned Florida van.
“All of a sudden we see this white speck getting closer and closer and closer,” she said in the interview.
"We both got goosebumps all over our body.
“We knew it was her van as soon as the footage passed by it."
Cops found Gabby's van in North Port during the weekend of September 11 – when Gabby's parents reported her disappearance.
Authorities seized the van from the Laundrie's home on September 14.
He then left his parents home telling them he was going to hike in the 24,000-acre Carlton Reserve, an alligator and insect-infested swampland in Sarasota County.
Chris and Roberta Laundrie reported their son missing on September 17.
Initially they reported he'd left on September 14 before they amended their story and said he actually disappeared on September 13.
Following the video revelations by the Bethunes, authorities honed their search in that vicinity.
GABBY STRANGLED TO DEATH
On September 19, Gabby's body was found on September 19 in a Wyoming national park.
She was formally identified on September 21.
The manner of her death was ruled a homicide, but the autopsy report has revealed information on her cause of death.
Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue confirmed that Gabby Petito died by strangulation during a press conference on Tuesday afternoon.
He added that Gabby's predicted death was three to four weeks before her body was found. The body was outside "in the wilderness" for this time.
In an eerie twist, on October 21, one month later, human remains were discovered near a dry bag and notebook that belonged to Laundrie in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park.
The grisly discovery ended a five week search for the wanted man.
Laundrie was never named a suspect in Gabby's murder.
However, he was a "person of interest" in her missing case and was a wanted fugitive until he died
A federal warrant out was filed seeking his arrest on bank fraud allegations after allegedly racking up $1,000 in charges on Gabby's debit card.
The following day, FBI officials announced that the skeletal remains were Laundrie's.
The cause of his death is still being investigated.
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.
- October 12: Gabby's autopsy results were made public. Teton County Coroner Dr Brent Blue confirmed Gabby died by strangulation.
- October 20: Laundrie's personal items were found at the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park. A medical examiner was called to the scene.
- October 21: The FBI confirmed the remains found have been identified as Laundrie's.
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