Gabby Petito’s case gets more attention than families of POC


Petito photographed in front of a mural.

The Gabby Petito case has drawn the media’s attention since her disappearance on Sept. 11. Since then, she has been announced dead.

Petito’s body was found in a remote national park in Wyoming on Sunday, and medical examiners have determined that she was killed. The twenty-two year old influencer went on a four month cross-country trip in a van with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie.

Throughout the trip, Petito and Laundrie would vlog their travels both on Instagram and YouTube. On Aug. 12, a Utah police officer pulled their van over as the body cam video showed the couple experiencing an emotional argument between the two.

Both had explained that they were struggling with their mental health, and the cops arranged plans for Petito to sleep in a hotel and Laundrie in the van. Petito’s mom, Nicole Schmidt, last heard from her daughter on Aug. 30 receiving texts that were believed not to be from Petito.

Laundrie returned back home in September without Petito and became a person of interest. Not wanting to talk to the family of Petito nor the attorneys, Laundrie hired a lawyer.

After her family was not able to get in touch with her, she was officially reported as a missing person on Sept. 11, and the week after, on Sept. 17, Laundrie was also reported missing as the public were now assuming he was hiding. Brian Laundrie is currently still a crime suspect in the intense manhunt in Florida after his disappearance during Petito’s case.

On Sept. 19, a body was found in the Bridger Teton National Forest in Wyoming where Petitio was last seen alive, the description of the body matched the identity of Petito.

Many volunteers joined the search in an attempt to find Petito after the mind-blowing case received attention on social media both national and international, dominating Tik-Tok and other social media platforms.

Several people helped little by little through these platforms to help find Petito.

This led to questions asking why certain missing person cases attracted more audience and more attention to the public compared to others who have barely received any.

Emotions pulled through. The frustration of being treated unfairly as cases including over at least 710 Indigenous people reported missing in Wyoming were not given the same awareness compared to Petito’s case who surrounded a white American woman gone missing.

Thousands of Indigenous people are served without justice and have gone missing at high rates, but they are not given the same amount of attention as Petito. Indigenous people have asked why their cases are not worthy to be put out there and receive the same attention. There is no argument in which Petito’s case does not deserve any less attention than what she was given nor was it her fault her case got more coverage, but instead they argue that missing Indigenous people deserve the same equal attention as Petito.

In the eight days that took place where Petito’s family reported her missing, three Indigenous people were reported missing in Montana.

The “Missing White Woman Syndrome” refers to the idea that the amount of media coverage a missing person receives is influenced by the background information of that person. This explains specific people, a white woman in this case, who fit the traditional beauty standards.

Also, those who come from a wealthy background tend to be overlooked in the media. Missing people of color were underrepresented in new coverages but yet missing white women were overrepresented.

As the case got more attention and although it was overshadowing many POC’s cases, more people were able to be informed and reminded about cases including indigenous women.

It’s not a surprise that in the media coverage we saw Gabby Petito receiving the attention of millions of people and yet for indigenous people and POC in general, their voices were not heard.

This is just the reality when it comes to missing person cases, but in many ways this helps others to get the attention they need.