World Lifetime’s ‘The Gabby Petito Story’ to premiere during Domestic Violence Awareness Month

00:22  12 august  2022
00:22  12 august  2022 Source:   foxnews.com

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A Lifetime film based on the disappearance and death of Gabby Petito will premiere Oct. 1, the start of Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

"The Gabby Petito Story" will star Skyler Samuels as Petito and Evan Hall as Brian Laundrie. The film, timed to the one-year disappearance of Petito, is part of the network’s "Stop Violence Against Women" initiative.

The network has also teamed up with the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence to create a PSA that will feature a helpline for women.

Following the film, the documentary "Beyond the Headlines: Gabby Petito" will air, taking a closer look at the travel blogger’s complicated relationship with her fiancé and the cross-country trip that resulted in her tragic murder.

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"As the one-year anniversary of her tragic death approaches, the movie will bring to life Gabby and Brian’s doomed love story, including the warning signs that Gabby’s life was in danger, the ensuing search for her, the eventual discovery of her murder and, ultimately, Brian’s suicide," a statement sent to Fox News Digital Wednesday said.

Samuels is known for playing Chloe King in ABC Family’s "Nine Lives of Chloe King." She was also featured in Ryan Murphy’s "Scream Queens." The 28-year-old previously starred in Lifetime’s "Switched Before Birth."

Hall played a recurring character in "Orange is the New Black." The actor was also a series regular on Nat Geo's "Mars," which was produced by Brian Grazer and Ron Howard’s Imagine Entertainment.

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Emmy-nominated actress Thora Birch makes her directorial debut in the film and stars as Petito’s mother. The 40-year-old previously starred in Lifetime’s "Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story" in 2003 and "The Pregnancy Pact" in 2010.

"The Gabby Petito Story" was written by Gregory Small and Richard Blaney. They previously teamed up on another true-crime film for the network, 2013’s "Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secret."


Petito, 22, and Laundrie, 23, met when they were living on Long Island, New York, where they attended school together. The couple later moved into Laundrie’s parents’ North Port, Florida, home, and Laundrie proposed. The pair embarked on a cross-country trip in June 2021 with plans to travel the country in a 2012 Ford Transit van and visit national parks along the way.

But Laundrie returned to his North Port home Sept. 1 in the van the couple had been using but without his fiancée. Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, reported her missing to Suffolk County Police Sept. 11, 2021.

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Investigators found Petito's body near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming Sept. 19 near where a travel-blogging couple saw the pair's 2012 Ford Transit van parked in late August.


Investigators ruled her death a homicide by manual strangulation and blunt-force trauma to the head and neck.

There was turmoil between the pair during at least one portion of their cross-country excursion.

Records showed that, on Aug. 12, police in Moab, Utah, responded to a report of a domestic dispute between the young couple. In a 911 call placed at the time, a person could be heard telling a police dispatcher that "the gentleman was slapping the girl." But the call, first reported by Fox News Digital, contradicted a police report in which an officer stated, "No one reported that the male struck the female."

"The male tried to create distance by telling Gabb[y] to go take a walk to calm down, she didn’t want to be separated from the male and began slapping him," the report continued. "He grabbed her face and pushed her back as she pressed upon him and the van, he tried to lock her out and succeeded except for his driver’s door, she opened that and forced her way over to him and into the vehicle before it drove off."

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Body camera footage of Moab police officers’ response to the call later went public. One of the officers on the scene wrote that the incident could be "more accurately categorized as a mental/emotional health ‘break’ than a domestic assault."

Both Petito and Laundrie denied that Laundrie hit and slapped Petito. Moab Police ultimately separated the couple for the night but otherwise let them go. Officers left Petito to sleep in the couple’s camper van and drove Laundrie to a nearby motel, but an employee at the motel could not confirm to Fox News Digital whether Laundrie stayed overnight.


An outside investigation found that the officers made "unintentional mistakes" and recommended multiple changes be made in how such instances are handled. Officials also recommended the officers involved in the call be placed on probation. Laundrie disappeared shortly after he returned to Florida alone.

The Laundrie family’s attorney announced Sept. 17 that Brian vanished Sept. 14, 2021, after telling his family he was going to a local reserve. The family later changed the date that Brian was last seen to Sept. 13. He subsequently was identified as a person of interest in Petito’s death and then as a suspect in her murder. Then, on Sept. 23, the FBI announced he was wanted for bank card fraud.

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Laundrie’s remains ultimately turned up in Florida’s Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park Oct. 20. 2021, shortly after his parents discovered multiple items belonging to their son, Fox News Digital exclusively reported at the time. Laundrie was known to frequent the park before his disappearance and subsequent death. A medical examiner determined Laundrie had shot himself in the head.

Among the items later discovered near his remains was a notebook that was found to have included an eight-page note in which Laundrie described his version of events leading up to Petito’s death.


"I ended her life," it said. "I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistakes I made. I panicked. I was in shock."

Laundrie wrote that he killed Petito after, he claimed, she injured herself when she fell in Wyoming.

"From the moment I decided, took away her pain, I knew I couldn't go on without her," he wrote. "Please do not make life harder for my family. They lost a son and a daughter. The most wonderful girl in the world. Gabby I'm sorry."

On Monday, lawyers for Petito’s parents announced that they will file a $50 million wrongful death lawsuit against the Moab Police Department, two officers who interacted with her just days before her death and two former leaders.


The family alleged that Moab officers Eric Pratt and Daniel Robbins failed to properly handle a 911 call in which a witness claimed he saw Laundrie hitting Petito and trying to steal her phone and drive off without her in the middle of downtown Moab.

Fox News Digital was the first to report the Aug. 12, 2021, domestic 911 call last year. Roughly two weeks after Moab police pulled over the couple at the entranceway to Arches National Park, Laundrie is believed to have bludgeoned Petito and strangled her to death at a Bridger-Teton National Forest campground in Wyoming.

"Had the officers involved had training to implement proper lethality assessment and to recognize the obvious indicators of abuse, it would have been clear to them that Gabby was a victim of intimate partner violence and needed immediate protection," Brian Stewart, a lawyer for the family, said in a statement.

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