Gabby Petito and How Her Case Went Viral


Kate Bodden, Contributer

Unless you have been hiding under a rock or you genuinely do not care, you have probably heard the name Gabby Petito. For those who do not know, Gabby Petito is a social influencer who grew her platform with her fiancé Brian Laudrie posting about her “van life.” She would document their trips on Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. What’s so interesting about Gabby? Well, she went missing, and naturally true crime social media blew up. In the search for Gabby at least nine other victims’ bodies were found. The victims that have been identified have been mainly POC (people of color) cases. POC cases have a habit of not making the headlines like their white counterparts. 

People of color, especially indigenous and black women, go missing at alarming rates. Their cases remain unnoticed and unsolved while other cases, such as Gabby Petito’s, go explosive. Although Gabby already had a platform that aided her search and she already had people ready to look for her, but most of the women who go missing do not have the same advantages that Gabby had. They rely on their local media and the media around the country to help find them, to help bring them home safe to their families. When that media fails them and they go unnoticed, their chances of getting home vanish with them. 

I did a survey recently and four out of thirty students knew of other missing persons’ cases. They could not name any names, but they did say that they knew it was women of color, specifically black and indigenous women. These people that have gone missing stay missing most likely never to be found. Their families remain without closure. While what happened to Gabby is a horrendous thing that should not happen to anyone, these people that have gone missing deserve the same attention we gave Gabby. Her family gets to rest a little easier knowing her fate; they will grieve her loss, but at least they know. 

A sad fact is that people go missing almost all the time. People of color go unnoticed and many people do not care about that fact. POC’s deserve the same treatment from the media and society at large when they go missing.