Gabby Petito Case Shines Spotlight On Lack of Media Attention On Missing People of Color

ABC 7

If you watch the news, you have heard the name Gabby Petito. She is a young lady, just 22 years old, who went on a cross-country road trip with her fiance, Brian Laundrie. They posted about their travels on social media. They seemed happy and in love, but there was much more to the story.

According to body cam footage on a police officer, the couple had been fighting. Laundrie put the blame on Petito. She blamed her OCD. Nobody seemed to be hurt, but the police still had the couple spend the night in different locations.

Weeks later, Laundrie returned home from the cross-country trip, but Petito wasn’t with him. Where was she? Laundrie and his family have remained silent about anything they know. In fact, Laundrie is now missing as well. Considering he was named a person of interest in the case of Petito, it is possible that he ran away and is in hiding.

Meanwhile, police believe they have found the body of Petito. Her family is in mourning. The Laundrie family still isn’t sharing any information they may have.

This is a tragic story. It is sad, yet, it is not as unusual as you might think. Petito is far from the only missing person. Why is she getting so much attention when there are over 89,000 other people who are currently missing?

Michael Alcazar is a Criminal Justice Professor and a retired detective for the New York City Police Department. He believes, “Psychologically, people just felt very close to her because of social media.”

Sure, maybe social media is part of it, but that doesn’t necessarily explain why she is getting so much media attention when thousands of other people are missing. Approximately 45% of people who go missing are people of color. Is Petito’s story getting attention because she’s a white woman? Would she be getting as much attention if she were a person of color?

Alex Piquero is a criminologist at the University of Miami. He explained, “There are a lot of women of color, and especially immigrants, this happens to all the time, and we never hear about it.”

Watch the video below to learn about several people of color who are currently missing. They deserve to be found too.

Do you think Petito’s case would be getting as much attention if she were a person of color?