“Heartbreaking, emotional, and compelling viewing, Paramount Plus’ ‘The Disappearance Of Gabby Petito’ will have viewers in tears by the finale.”
The world was gripped when 22-year-old Gabrielle Venora ‘Gabby’ Petito went missing in late August of 2021. All kinds of theories and suspicions surrounded the case. We now know that the mystery was to end tragically when her remains were found on September 19th, 2021. Murdered by the man she loved, her boyfriend Brian Laundrie. He wouldn’t face trial over her death, choosing to end his life by suicide with a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. But the case highlighted the world at large coming together to try and solve the mystery.
The Paramount Plus three-part series ‘The Disappearance Of Gabby Petito’ delves deeply into all aspects of the case. And by doing so, presents almost everything to the world that had to do with the entire story, from the beginning to its tragic end.
The series is split into three parts. And each of them is as compelling as the next. We see Gabby as she was. A young, free-spirited woman who had dreams and hopes as she entered her adult life. Home video footage of the young woman is presented to us alongside Gabby’s own social media videos of that fateful trip she made with her boyfriend. We also get to see parts of the notorious police bodycam footage where we find Gabby crying to officers while her boyfriend laughs and jokes around with them.
We want to physically reach out to pull Gabby out of the situation she finds herself in. And we can’t help but feel that if we could, we would reach through the screen to help her. We know how this is going to end. And our helplessness contributes to the emotion of what we are witnessing.
The series conducts interviews with Gabby’s parents and stepmother. And again, we are drawn in by the emotion of what we hear from them. Our hearts go out to them with every word they speak about their daughter. And at times, it is hard not to start shedding tears ourselves. This is a highly emotional series from the start. And some of it is heartbreaking. By the same token, some of it makes us extremely angry. The news footage that accompanies the series, and the interviews with the various news persons who reported it make us feel extreme anger towards certain individuals. Why did the police not take Brian into custody? Taking the fifth amendment is one thing but the evidence was unquestioningly there.
Why won’t Brian’s parents speak about the case and their son? Why did they go to great lengths to try and shield him? And why did they do what they did? From the start, they come under suspicion of aiding and abetting their son and his crime. Of course, their actions look shady. But what do they have to hide? Why did they drive their son’s car back from the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park and then wait days to report him missing? It doesn’t add up to anything except trying to cover their son’s guilt. And it makes them guilty in everyone’s eyes. They claim it’s on the advice of a lawyer that they won’t talk. Our suspicions believe something entirely different.
We also get to hear from the internet sleuths who tried to help out during the investigation. Of course, some of the theories that some presented were totally outlandish. But others were right on the money. Some even show us the leads they were presented with by various tipsters and how they were debunked. No stone is left unturned throughout the three episodes. And we are hooked as these sleuths talk about their work on the case itself. It throws a spotlight on them and the good they can do. Of course, not all of them are trustworthy. Some even present speculation as fact. But the ones we encounter during the series are the exception to the rule. These people are some of the smartest and most trustworthy. And they could and are a benefit to the police and their investigations.
We all know it is coming. We already know how this case ends. But nothing can really prepare you for the discovery of Gabby’s remains. We still hold out hope that she will be found alive, even though we know that she will not. But when the announcement comes of the discovery of her body, it is like a hammer blow to the chest. We hear from her parents about how they received the news. And their tears are mirrored by our own. It is a highly emotional moment in a series that is packed full of them.
When the autopsy reveals that Gabby died from blunt force injuries to her head and neck, with manual strangulation, we feel devastation. A young woman, who had her whole life ahead of her, has been taken from the world in a cruel fashion. But our sadness and despair will soon turn to anger and revulsion.
DISCOVERY OF BRIAN LAUNDRIE’S BODY
On October 20th, 2021, Brian Laundrie’s skeletal remains were found in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park. The area where his body and some of his belongings were found had recently been underwater due to flooding. His death, by a single gunshot wound to the head, is ruled a suicide. We feel nothing but deflation. We find ourselves disappointed that he cheated the justice he deserved. That he cheated his way out of paying for Gabby’s death. His death brings a tragic story to a devastating end. And yet, still nothing from his family. That alone is suspicious and bewildering.
A note that Brian wrote and was found later states that he killed Gabby out of mercy after she fell and hit her head. And that he decided to die as he couldn’t live without her. It is also revealed that this version of events was totally disregarded by police and forensic investigators. The evidence totally destroys Brian’s account. It is a fabrication to justify what he did. To attempt to present a reason for the actions he committed to Gabby. And we, like the police and investigators, see through this lie as soon as it is presented to us.
The series will push the viewer through the emotional wringer. It will have us in floods of tears as well as fits of anger. The anger is aimed directly at Brian Laundrie and his parents. Why would they not report their son driving Gabby’s van to their home without Gabby being with him? Why would they not question where she is? Something just doesn’t add up. And their silence is deafening. We find ourselves not only outraged but wanting to join the throng of people who camped outside the Laundrie home demanding answers.
But we mirror the anger alongside the sadness and devastation we feel for Gabby herself and her family. They have had their daughter ripped from them in the most cruelest of ways. Their pride and joy at such a daughter make us want to reach out to them. To hug them, to share their pain. We can’t, of course. But we can join them in mourning the loss of such a wonderful soul as Gabby Petito.
The makers of The Disappearance Of Gabby Petito have gone out of their way to not only bring us the full story of the disappearance and death of Gabby Petito but the emotional aspects too. It is something that needs to be seen, to be experienced. By the end of the series, we will be completely wrung out. And that is all credit to the makers. They have presented this story to us in the perfect way. With facts. And by hearing everything from those concerned.
It is presented in a considerate and heartfelt way that deserves commendation. It not only tells the full story but also stands as a tribute to Gabby herself and her all-too-brief life. Heartbreaking, emotional, and compelling viewing, Paramount Plus’ documentary will have viewers in tears by the finale. And makes for an uncomfortable but ultimately rewarding experience.
“The Disappearance Of Gabby Petito” is available now on Paramount Plus. To start your viewing and seven-day trial, you can sign up here.
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Carl Roberts is the News Editor of The Future of the Force. Aside from being our horror genre aficionado, he is also passionate about Star Wars, Marvel, DC, and the Indiana Jones movies. Follow him on Twitter where he uses the force frequently!