I must admit I only came to this case after all the main events had already occurred in it, i.e. I wasn't caught up in the widespread social media interest in the case when Gabby Petito first went missing from which everything else followed. Released remarkably quickly after the case was pronounced closed with the apparent suicide of the main suspect in the young girl's death, being her erstwhile fiance and travelling companion, one Brian Laundrie, this documentary relates the tragic story sequentially, using keyboard-subtitles to set the scene, interspersed with footage of Miss Petito doing her innocent pieces to camera during their travels, then the revealing police body-cam film of her in an emotionally distressed state when a witness saw Laundrie assaulting her and after her death combining TV news inserts with interviews with the victims immediate family and the various people on social media who in different ways got involved in the case. . The victim herself was bright, pretty and artistic and had bought a white transit van, kitted it out for travel and then with her boyfriend Laundrie set out west on a road-trip, her intention being to create a travelogue vlog and hopefully garner attention on the main social outlets in the process.
But she never completed the journey, going missing while her fiancé returned home driving her van, but with Gabby nowhere to be found. As her disappearance went viral on the social networks, with more and more people getting caught up in the mystery of her whereabouts, the case took a tragic turn when she was found dead, strangled by her killer. Everything pointed to Laundrie being the perpetrator, especially when the local police department released footage of two of their officers responding to a witness reporting Laundrie hitting Gabby in the face and the couple driving away. Flagged down by the police, Gabby is obviously in some distress but appears to take the blame for the incident . What had seemed on Facebook etc to be a romantic odyssey by two young star-crossed lovers then turned dark with a subsequent murder and apparent suicide leaving Gabby's separated patents and two equally loving step-parents desolate over her loss.
I must admit I got somewhat confused by the overuse of a timeline diagram to signpost significant events as they occurred. Not surprisingly, Laundrie's parents aren't represented at all, neither were any of the local law enforcement agencies. As a viewing experience, it perhaps could have been more sharply edited. We learn for example that strangely no gun was found at Laundrie's death-site and just how to explain the mysterious closure of the door of the parked van actually caught on dashcam by a holidaying family in their own touring vehicle..
With all the loose ends of the case pretty much tied-up by the end, one can only sympathise with Gabby's family on the loss of their vivacious daughter while feeling nothing but derision for the family of her almost certain murderer who it appears covered up for him.
This documentary told its sorry story in a rather detached, frenetic manner, I felt not entirely sympathetic to the circumstances, being shot almost like a contemporary thriller but what does shine out is the personality of Miss Petito, whose bad luck it was to go on a road trip with the wrong person.