NewsLocal News


Why Gabrielle Petito's disappearance receiving national attention

Media outlets flock to Southwest Florida
North Port Police holds press conference for missing Gabrielle Petito
Posted at 10:40 PM, Sep 16, 2021
and last updated 2021-09-17 08:35:31-04

Missing cases are reported every day, but the story of 22 year old Gabrielle Petito's disappearance has captured the attention of the country.

Dr. David Thomas, Professor of Forensics Studies at Florida Gulf Coast University, provided his perspective on why some cases get more attention than others. He says, "In some of these cases, race does play a factor. If you think about the young lady, Gabby, she's blonde hair, blue eyed, epitome of what you might consider the perfect person. And so that weighs into it, because she seems relatively helpless. Her body size, everything, to creating sympathy and have people want to assist."

Dr. Thomas says it helps that law enforcement is also making it a priority. He says, "Law enforcement, if you think about it, have very limited resources. So we're talking about Utah. And now in Florida. It's huge. It's a lot of area to cover. And, so when a family steps up and says, 'We need help. Our daughter is missing.' And think about the circumstances. There's like, 12 or 13 days from the time the daughter is last seen, to the time the mom actually picks up the phone and screams. That's a long time and a lot of distance to travel. So yeah, it helps the family get involved speak up and scream."