More than a year ago, around August 21 of 2021, Brian Laundrie murdered Gabby Petito in a Wyoming park.
Gabby’s family is suing to get some measure of justice for her death. A lot of people failed her before Brian ended her life.
But they are also in mourning. Her brother, TJ, is no exception.
TJ took a trip to the site of Gabby’s murder, honoring her memory and posting a tribute to her.
“This post is a tough one for me,” TJ Schmidt wrote on Instagram.
“But visiting where my sister was taken from us,” he noted, “was enlightening in many ways.”
He added that this was true even “as painful as it was.”
“But the signs of her watching over were everywhere,” TJ concluded his post.
Losing a sibling is a tragedy and a horror, especially when she is so young.
Learning that her murderer violently abused her for months, that law enforcement knew and failed to stop, is worse.
And then there was the publicity that came from Gabby’s disappearance and then the manhunt for Brian.
The horror of the case ignited social media.
On the positive side, this meant that people came forward with leads, including video and eyewitness accounts. Some even helped authorities to find Gabby’s remains.
But there were downsides, including people who tried to add themselves to the narrative for clout.
People correctly pointed out that dozens of women of color have gone missing in the same area without receiving the same media attention.
Gabby’s family were quick to acknowledge this, and used their platform to call attention to other missing persons. But in many ways, this phenomenon was beyond their control.
The worst of the media attention came from the absolute dregs of society.
White supremacists, incels, and similar ilk flocked to the defense of Brian Laundrie, despite ample evidence.
These malefactors defamed Gabby, and insisted that people were falsely accusing Brian because he was a “bald man.” In their minds, this made him oppressed. There is no reasoning with the unreasonable.
Just for the record, Brian left a written confession. Of course, he claimed that he thought that she wanted him to.
He penned it prior to dying by suicide. He was in hiding from authorities. And from millions of other potential witnesses.
For a few weeks, he was the most recognizable fugitive on the planet. There was no place for him to go.
October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It is a grimly fitting time to memorialize Gabby Petito.
Domestic violence comes in various forms. Not all victims die by their abuser’s hand. But many know that they could. Anyone could share Gabby’s tragic fate.
Our hearts continue to go out to Gabby’s loved ones as they mourn her.