Gabby Petito: That is why the primary 72 hours are essential find a lacking woman

Florida authorities are desperate to find Long Island resident Gabby Petito in an attempt to convince boyfriend Brian Laundrie to cooperate with her efforts. The 22-year-old was reported missing by her mother Nicole Schmidt on Saturday, September 11, and well-wishers pray for her safety and well-being, but criminology experts say the first 72 hours are the most critical of a missing person’s investigation.

Petito’s last known whereabouts were in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming, in late August, when she was with Laundrie, her two-and-a-half-year-old boyfriend. According to several reports, Laundrie, who abruptly returned to Florida alone, has hired a lawyer and refuses to cooperate with the police. The authorities are now preparing for the likelihood that something “scary” might have happened to Petito, who was traveling with her lover in a converted van.


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Criminology experts interviewed by ABC News stated that investigators are essentially working against the clock and with every hour the chances of the subject being found decrease too. Dr. Michelle Jeanis, professor of criminology at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette, told the outlet in 2018 that one of the first steps law enforcement took in a missing person case was to prevent the loss of evidence at all costs.

Dr. Bryanna Fox, a former FBI agent and professor of criminology at the University of South Florida, told ABC News that the first two days are the most important because then investigators have the best chance of following up, considering they aren’t people’s conscious memories start to fade quickly. “The information law enforcement agencies get is usually a little more accurate and they are able to act on the information and hopefully reach the missing person faster,” said Fox, adding that there are fewer “breadcrumbs” there that have to be followed. Time flies.

Meanwhile, former FBI specialty agent Steve Gomez stated that law enforcement agencies are gathering information not only from the person’s family but also from the public, including people who may have noticed a pivotal moment in the person’s disappearance while watching theirs go about daily life. “People usually see something, so this period of time is absolutely critical to being able to find the person right away,” he said.

Additionally, Gomez emphasized the importance of getting as much attention and as many leads as possible as they tend to slow down after 72 hours. “That is why it is so important to go ahead with the investigation and get public help,” he added.

Jeanis noted that the first few days are especially critical when the person is being transported or is in imminent danger. She said investigations into missing people who authorities believe are at risk, especially children and those with mental illnesses, will continue to accelerate as time presses to inform the public to investigate the issue.

Jeanis said stranger abductions were “very, very rare” but noted that children are usually killed quickly, “sometimes within the first three hours but usually within the first two days”.

In the meantime, there is usually a scheduled time on the probe for others who go missing, with the goal shifting from trying to find a living human to trying to find a corpse.

According to Gomez, “There comes a certain point after about a week or two when you have to remember that the missing person may be dead and now the point is to find their body and close the family and see if” You now have a homicide investigation, a suicide, or some kind of accidental death. “

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