If you are in a dangerous situation, please reach out for help: National Domestic Violence Hotline : 1-800-799-7233 (SAFE)
It’s been a heavy week.
If you’ve been following the Gabby Petito/Brian Laundrie case, then you sadly are aware that on Tuesday afternoon of this week, the Teton County Coroner, Dr. Brent Blue, announced Petito’s autopsy findings. She died of homicide by manual strangulation/throttling.
And ugh, that is such a terrible sentence to type.
To think of the incredible pain her family is in, knowing that she died in such a deliberate, terrible, and disturbingly intimate way, all I can do is offer up all my prayers to Jesus that He cover them in the consolation that only He can provide as they grieve their daughter, and travel to Wyoming to retrieve Gabby’s remains, all the while grasping for answers in this unresolved case.
This case has become a media storm, as you may know. News stations and cameras staked outside the Laundries’ home — as Brian has now been missing for over one month, since Gabby’s initial missing persons report, and subsequent death. “Dog the Bounty Hunter” has been on the case for several weeks, with camera crew in tow, searching for Brian – who could be anywhere in the world.
And the entire world is invested in finding the culprit who killed “America’s Daughter.”
There have been numerous “Brian sightings” from the Appalachian Trail, to Ohio, to Seattle. His parents reported him missing in the swampy Carlton Reserve – so there’s been an (unsuccessful) manhunt there for the last 3 weeks. There are conspiracy theories that he’s hiding in a bunker underneath his parents’ flower beds in their Florida home. There are people who believe he’s fled to an organic co-op farm community in Central Amercia. And there are many people who believe that his family’s laywer, Steven Bertilino, is hiding him in a safe house somewhere.
But all the evidence is seeming to point to her fiance, Brian, who she was traveling in a camper-van across the country with — and who returned home to Florida on Sept 1 in Gabby’s van, without her…ten days before her parents reported her missing, [which as we know now, is just a couple days after when the coroner reported her time of death].
As a Christian, I always like to give people the benefit of the doubt. I try really hard not to make a snap judgement, and to hear people out. But sadly, with this case, it’s really hard to look past the overwhelming evidence that points to Brian Laundrie. Especially with his parents’ stone cold silence, and the fact that they “lawyered up” before Gabby was even reported missing.
But the biggest indication, is the alleged domestic violence that Gabby was suffering in their relationship. Before Gabby’s disappearance, the two were pulled over in Moab, Utah, after a 9-1-1 call reported Brian hitting Gabby on the street, outside of her van. When they were pulled over, – as many victims of DV do – Gabby (who was hyperventilating, uncontrollably crying and in a state of complete distress) took the blame, saying she “hit him first.” But admitted that he had hit her, and grabbed her face — with an accompanying cut on her face and bruise on her arm to prove. (This stop was documented on body-cam footage from the police officers.)
I have, clearly, been very invested in this case. And I’ve been researching it in my *limited* free time. There are some very insightful YouTube videos out there, with interviews with former detectives, private investigators, former FBI agents, etc – who are all giving their thoughts on the case. And these live-stream YouTube channels will always include a portion of the show where viewers can call in, live.
And every show, the phone lines are just flooded with women, calling in, and sharing how they relate so personally with this case because they, themselves, are survivors of domestic violence and abuse.
These women are just sobbing, sharing their stories, and sharing how they see themselves in Gabby, how close this hits to home, and how beneficial it is to just have a place to share their story – share what they went through, to people who care, who will listen, and have compassion.
As someone who has been fortunate to have never been through anything like that, and who grew up in a loving, stable home, I have been truly astounded and gut-wrenched by the sheer volume of the number of women who have had to deal with such absolutely heinous and terrible abuse, in the place where they were supposed to feel safe and loved.
It breaks my heart. But also, is so inspiring to hear these women who found a way out of a dangerous situation, took back their lives, and became strong, brave women who overcome the worst situation imaginable.
And with October being Domestic Violence Awareness Month, I wanted to honor these incredible survivors by opening floor to them tonight. Like these women on the live-stream videos I’ve been watching, I want to offer a safe place for you to, not only share your stories, but also to share how you overcame your situation. What did you do? What did you think about? What did you learn from it? How is your life different now?
Everyone’s story is important and deserves to be heard. And every.single.one. of us has had to overcome something in their lives. For me, it was anorexia. And sharing my story, and offering insight into how I overcame those demons in my life has been so healing for me, personally, and has become my online ministry, here on this blog.
So with that, thank you for anyone who chooses to share their vulnerable and personal story. Know that your voice is important, safe here, and we offer nothing but compassion, love and support.
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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39 responses to “Gabby Petito and Domestic Violence Awareness Month”
A sad ending to a beautiful life. I have been seeing this even in the news here in Melbourne, Australia. The autopsy report would be so hard for the family. My prayers goes to her and her family and friends.
Hi Teresa, you’re so right – it is just so tragic. I can’t imagine what they’re going through. So so many prayers for them. thanks for stopping by, Hugs and love xox
KEY POINT: Gabby Hit Brian First. Why do women ignore this and excuse it away? Women engage in domestic violence. Women can be abusive. Gabby and Brian fought frequently. Gabby chose not to leave the relationship.
Gabby, in my opinion, IS NOT America’s daughter. Some 2,300 American kids go missing each day. This privileged, blonde White women sucks up all the oxygen around this tragic issue.
Brian may have killed her; maybe he got fed up with their fighting, kicked her out of the car, somebody picked her up and killed her. Brian knew he was in trouble for leaving (abandoning) her. Thus, he reached out to their family attorney. Maybe he disappeared into the glades and an alligator killed him.
Who knows? Why do we really care about this incident? What about the 2,300 missing children today?
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. There is a lot that we don’t know about this case or their relationship. All we know is that there were two eye witnesses that called 9-1-1 claiming that he hit her. I can see a world where she said she hit him first as a way to protect him from going to jail. You’re right that men can definitely be victims of DV. It is heartbreaking that there are so many children missing. I don’t think it is necessary to speak ill of Gabby, when we didn’t know her. And I personally care because it is a tragic event, and it breaks my heart. Hugs and love xox
How tragic this all is. I agree that Gabby should not be branded “America’s daughter.” Please look up Aerial Isabella Kalua who is a six year old girl who has been missing for a month after she disappeared from her foster home. As you often advocate for pro-life and that people should use foster care in lieu of abortions, I’m surprised you have not put one once of energy towards Aerial’s case. Oh that’s right, because she doesn’t look like Gabby.
Hi Mya, it really is so so tragic. Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. I was just quoting Gabby’s mother on that one. That is so sad about Aerial. I will definitely look into her case. How terrible tragic. This is the first I have heard of it. And I would just like to point out, that that is an unfair assumption you have made about me, friend. I would invite you to get to know me before judging me so harshly. Hugs and love xox
[…] Gabby Petito and Domestic Violence Awareness Month […]
Thank you Tonya for the link up. Hugs and love xox
Absolutely heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing this important message 😢
thank you Paula. Yeah, it is just so terribly sad. big prayers for her family. Hugs and love xox
I smell a bit of hate from once commenter. Hate begets hate. Have a lovely weekend, Caralyn! 🙏🏻❤️
Hi John, thank you for your support. yeah, this topic has struck a nerve with a few people. Going to just keep my head down, and eyes on Jesus. Hugs and love xox
I see the domestic violence helpline number a lot, but I don’t see much discussion anywhere about how to tell that you need help. Abuse messes with your mind so much that you may not know you need help, or your abuser has been successful at convincing you that you “don’t deserve” help.
So it’s okay if you don’t think you’re the right person to address the “how you know you need help” question, but that’s the resource more people need.
Hi Athena, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts on this. You’re right – the cycle of abuse is so devastating. And you hit the nail on the head: I am not qualified to address that incredibly important question. But I can point out the resources of people who can: https://ncadv.org/ That’s the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Thank you for stopping by. Hugs and love xox
People are following this because of the amount of info out there and the fact the boyfriend has taken actions that one can conclude makes him appear guilty.. Many cases are not covered because there are no clues out there as to what happened. Fellow vloggers had video of the van giving clues as to where they were and they actually found her body nearby. Not every case gets this level of attention. I think you need to blame the news media. I follow one podcast covering the case and a few others. They get their info from news sources. Its hard for bloggers/vloggers /podcasters to give time to all the cases when many were not covered much or if at all even by the local media/tv/etc. Don’t waste your time attacking the wrong people. If you are not happy about what cases get attention go after your local professional media. I know someone whose daughter was the victim of a horrendous crime. It did not make national news in the US, but oddly a British paper covered a little of it after the crime happened.
Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this. You’re right – this case has received attention because it was so accessible with information — and so tragic. You’re right – the media are the gatekeepers as to what gets coverage and what doesn’t. Every instance of domestic violence is absolutely terrible and deserves attention and the story to be told. Sadly, that does not happen. I wish there was a way to remedy that. THank you for stopping by. Hugs and love xox
So sorry you have to deal with some who are directing their anger to the wrong places. It’s the same with missing persons. Some cases get more attention because there are sightings or more clues. Some seem to vanish without a trace.
you’re right about that. it’s not fair, and i wish it were different. thank you Sharon. Hugs and love xox
This is such a tragic story, and no one but Gabby and Brian know all the details of the relationship. We can all assume that he is the one who killed her, but I’ve also wondered what if he’s running because of a detail that no one knows (maybe they saw something they shouldn’t have?). We won’t know until the truth comes out, if it ever does. I do know from personal experience that abuse in a relationship doesn’t just happen immediately: it often progresses over time. And it’s not always physical. I went through a relationship where I was gradually convinced to pull away from one person after another because *insert fault here* until all I had left were him and his friends, and two of my friends who remained, one of which he put me through a guilt trip every time I spent time with her. I didn’t know who I was because I was constantly being told different things by different people, and I felt like I was in a tug of war between who my parents told me I was and who he said I was. I remember there were days I just stood at my closet staring at my clothes, and I just didn’t have the mental energy to choose what to wear. I finally got away from him the day that God protected my heart from the accusations and I was no longer manipulated by words thrown at me. I’m not saying I was perfect and he was always the problem because I was definitely still very immature, but our personalities fed off each other and he brought out the worst version of me. That may be exactly what Gabby struggled with, especially in the situation when they were pulled over. I honestly am still overcoming some of the effects of what I went through, and that was over 11 years ago. But I have an amazingly supportive husband now, who repeatedly tells me I don’t have to explain myself or defend everything I do. Healing from abuse is one step at a time: as I come across something, I work on th healing around it.
I do hope that there is justice served for Gabby’s death, and I really hope Brian Laundrie is found soon. There won’t be many more answers to questions of what happened until he is found.
Hi Ellen, gosh, thank you so much for sharing your story and your heart. I’m honored that you would shed such light on your experience and how you got through it. Praise God that you were able to get away, and reclaim your life. And i am so happy to heart that God brought your wonderful husband into your life. That is such a powerful statement: healing from abuse is one step at a time. That is so so true. Oh friend, I wish I could hug you right now. You’ve been through a lot, and reading your words, I know you are one strong, brave woman. And you inspire me. Thank you again, Ellen. big hugs and lots of love xoxo
A beautiful post thank you so much
Thank you so much! Hugs and love xox
Maybe he walked out into the Florida wilderness and got eaten by an alligator. That would be a fitting end for someone who would murder another human being.
That is definitely a theory that a lot of people have! Those Florida gators are no joke! Thanks, Anthony for stopping by! Hugs and love xox
It always bothers me when readers attack you as they do, assuming the worst. Just wrote an article about that sort of thing last Wednesday. But you are handling them well in your responses. Both my sisters suffered from abuse; one was more mentally abused while the other was physical. In both cases, they enabled their own abuse while at the same time having their own flaws that helped no one. But I can think of no flaws off-hand that deserves abuse.
Who hit who first? What about guys that suffer from DV? A high school acquaintance went on to play very briefly in the NFL. He died when his girlfriend stabbed him to death. For that reason, I resolved never to give a woman a break if she gets violent with me. Then again, look at Gabby and Brian. Even if she hit him first with no weapon, does anyone think this slight girl could do any damage to him? Certainly not enough to be marked the way she was.
As you kept saying, no one knows all the details. All we can do in every case we see is what should be the means of first resort – prayer! After that, it’s directing people to help lines and whatever else we can offer in support.
Thanks for a good discussion!
Thank you Jeff for always having my back and an encouraging word. Gosh, I am so sorry to hear about your sisters – ah, it just breaks my heart. No one deserves that. And wow – that is just terrible about your high school friend – you’re right – thanks to the fall, the capability to do evil does not discriminate. And you’re right – prayer is the ultimate solution, as well as offering support and professional resources. I don’t know why God allows such a terrible act as domestic violence to happen, but then I know that it’s not Him *letting* it happen at all — it is because the enemy is real and conniving, and we have free will. All the more reason to surrender our hearts to Jesus. Thank you for sharing that, Jeff. Big prayers for all involved in this heartbreaking case. Sending you and your girls big hugs and love xox
Love and hugs back! Great weekend!!
xoxox 🙂 🙂 🙂
I’m sure eventually Brian will be found and judged (if he’s still alive). Until then I take comfort knowing God Almighty has promised that vengeance is His.
You’re right about that, Rollie. We will all eventually have to answer for our time here on earth. Thank you for stopping by and sharing that. I do hope the same. Hugs and love xox
May she rest in peace in the eternal light and love of God.
it really is so heartbreaking. thank you for stopping by and taking the time to read this. amen. Hugs and love xox
Dog usually gets his man. I have faith in him getting the job done. They don’t call him Dog for nuttin!
I survived emotional, and verbal abuse in my second marriage. It’s awful to say, but I thank God he died of cancer shortly after our wedding. We had a total of 3 1/2 years together, but he was in jail for the middle 2 years of it. If he hadn’t died, I really dread to think of what the outcome would have been. But he got saved in jail, so I have confidence he’s in heaven. After his death, his adult son asked how I’d dealt with the physical abuse. I said, “WHAT??” He had abused physically all his other 5 wives. (Also a caution if he’s divorced 5 times! The only common denominator there is him!!) The first time he raised fist to me, I told him I’d punch him in the stomach so hard, it would split him open, and I’d make sure he never got up again. I was 100 lbs, and 6 inches taller. Plus he’d been hit by a semi, so his guts were held together by surgical mesh. He thought about it for a second, went outside and punched a hole in our trailer siding. Thank God I never allowed myself to be physically abused. Probably because of my large size. But words still leave gaping wounds. They just aren’t visible.
Women need to pay attention to their family’s reactions, and cautions! I didn’t, to my sorrow. If you dread introducing him to family, cuz you fear they won’t like him, PLEASE stop and think!! Your intuition has a good reason for that hesitancy!! And if your family is concerned, there’s good reasons for that too!! <3
Hi friend, gosh thank you for sharing your story. I am so sorry you had to go through that. I wish I could give you a hug! you’re right – emotional and verbal abuse leave serious wounds as well. i’m so glad you stopped him before it became physical. i so appreciate you sharing your story. you’re a strong woman! Hugs and love xox
I knew it was time to leave my abuser when we were walking across a bridge over the Wolf River [high bridge in Memphis]. We weren’t fighting or anything– not that a fight would have made any of this acceptable– but it came out of nowhere. He bent down as if he was going to tie his shoe. Instead, he picked me up by my legs [I was at my worst with drugs & extremely thin] and dangled me over the bridge, head first. He shook me violently and screamed “ARE YOU READY TO MEET JESUS, B*TCH?” That was the final straw. It should have been the physical abuse. It should have been him extinguishing a lit cigarette on me. But that was it.
I share my story to let others know they aren’t alone. Not only did I leave my abuser and find peace, my life is THRIVING. I got clean and sober, gainful employment, and am living my dream as a freelance writer! Men were the last thing on my mind, but I just celebrated four years with an amazing man who has never– and would never– lay a hand on me or belittle, disrespect, or abuse me in any way.
Oh Sloane, oh my gosh, my heart breaks reading this. Friend, I am so sorry you had to go through that. Gosh, how absolutely terrible. I’m so glad you are out of that situation and free from his terror. Amen – you are THRIVING! I am SO overjoyed to hear that – what a powerful testimony you have. I am inspired by you! And you’ve found love with a new, great man! Praise God! I am cheering for you from NYC!! Thank you for sharing your story. You are amazing. Sending so much hugs and love.
Thank you for covering this difficult topic. This case struck a few chords with me. I still struggle with the fact that most will never know the truth and many probably blame me and doubt my story. I have a wise friend who reminds me,
“God knows the truth.” As in all these situations God does indeed know the truth. That in the end is what matters.
Thank you friend for sharing your heart on this. You’re right – sadly, especially with the news yesterday — i’m afraid the truth may never truly be known. amen- He knows the truth. So glad you stopped by. Prayers for the families! Hugs and love xox
It’s so sad about what happened to Gabby. I hope so rests in peace.