Many Americans have been gripped in recent days by the developing narrative surrounding a missing young camper named Gabby Petito.
The search appears to have concluded with the discovery of a body in Wyoming — and the development was likely only possible because a video blogger noticed Petito’s van in footage she filmed in the area around the time of the disappearance.
“Ran straight back to my laptop”
According to Mediaite, Jen Bethune discussed getting “chills” when she recognized the significance of her discovery in Grand Teton National Park.
“I am so sad that we couldn’t bring her back alive, but to be able to bring her back home to her family or to help with that is everything,” she said during a Fox & Friends interview on Monday.
Bethune recalled noticing a social media post urging anyone who had recently traveled in the area to review photos or videos for any clues.
“I got chills all over my body and ran straight back to my laptop, got my GoPro footage, and lo and behold Gabby’s van was on there,” she said.
The blogger explained that she remembered initially spotting the van and nearly deciding to stop and introduce herself and her family to the occupants.
“Looked like no activity”
“The reason why we noticed the van is because we’re from Florida and the van had Florida plates and we wanted to stop by and say ‘hi,'” Bethune said. “But the van was very dark, closed up, looked like no activity so we ended up continuing to drive.”
Following the fateful discovery, she said she and Petito’s mother had a “beautiful” conversation and “a great cry” about the tragic situation.
Petito last spoke to her mother on Aug. 25 as she and her boyfriend, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, toured national parks while camping in her white Ford Transit van.
On Sept. 1, Laundrie returned home to Florida alone. He went on to retain an attorney and reportedly refused to cooperate with investigators prior to going missing himself a short time later.
Bethune’s video was captured on Aug. 27 and, along with police and other online sleuths, ultimately appears to have brought about some resolution to the sad story.