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Gabby Petito is in the news. Missing Indigenous people aren’t. Why?

  • In the eight days between when Gabby Petito’s family reported her missing and when her body was found, three Indigenous people – Sterling Prinze Redstar, Markie Shea Williams and Cloelle Buck Elk – were reported missing in Montana.
  • The disproportionately high rates of missing and murdered Indigenous people is a nationwide crisis, and experts say Montana is an epicenter.
  • Kimberly Loring HeavyRunner’s sister, Ashley, has been missing from the Blackfeet Reservation since 2017: “I don’t understand how to qualify for this kind of mainstream media coverage.”

The story of Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito has swept the country.

USA TODAY. The New York Times. The Washington Post. Fox News. CNN. The nation’s major news outlets have all covered her life and dissected her “van life” videos on social media, produced timelines around her disappearance, analyzed police bodycam footage and reports, and devoted daily coverage to the ongoing search for her fiancé Brian Laundrie.

Amateur sleuths can’t get enough of the case. The #GabbyPetito hashtag has generated hundreds of millions of posts on TikTok, where true crime-obsessed users have shared updates – some true and others not – and shared their feelings about the case.

Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito didn't come back from a cross-country trip with her fiance.

The national attention to her case has stirred public outrage – and that’s only grown since her body was found Sunday at a campground near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming and Laundrie ditched Florida police who have searching all week for him inside a “vast and unforgiving” wilderness park.

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