Forget private investigators. YouTubers are much better criminal sleuths.
That is one of the lessons of the Gabby Petito case, a tragedy that began when a young woman's parents reported her missing after her fiance, Brian Laundrie, returned home from the couple's Western road trip without her. Police have since found Petito's body, abandoned in Wyoming's Bridger-Teton National Forest, and are trying to find Laundrie, who disappeared sometime this past week.
Law enforcement struggled to find Petito largely because Laundrie refused to assist the investigation and tell police where he had last seen her. Officers began to scour the national parks where Petito was last heard from but didn't reach a breakthrough until a family of vloggers, known as "Red White & Bethune," posted footage from a trip through the Grand Tetons that appeared to show the van in which Petito and Laundrie had been traveling.
Kyle and Jenn Bethune, the YouTubers behind "Red White & Bethune," said they were editing footage when Jenn noticed a white van in the video that appeared identical to Petito's. The video was taken on Aug. 27, just a couple of days before Laundrie showed up in Florida without Petito, which makes the location of the footage one of the last known places Petito visited.
Using this information, police were able to narrow their search. And sure enough, they found a body later identified as Petito's just a short distance from where the Bethunes spotted the van. In a shot from family footage, a cellphone and a single flip-flop believed to have been Petito's were found outside the van. It's possible they captured the last few hours of her life without even knowing it.
This isn't the first time the internet has helped law enforcement crack a case. Indeed, several online forums allow true crime enthusiasts to put their amateur detective skills to the test. As a result, they've successfully helped law enforcement piece together missing information in several cases, just like the Bethunes.
One would think that an era in which the internet can make anyone a Sherlock Holmes would deter criminals. But, unfortunately, as the Petito case proves, most criminals don't think they're going to be caught at all, let alone by a couple of YouTubers.
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Tags: Missing Person, Law Enforcement, Internet, YouTube, Crime
Original Author: Kaylee McGhee White
Original Location: The internet makes everyone a Sherlock Holmes