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Gabby Petito story boosted by social media, true-crime craze

Missing Traveler
Posted at 10:14 AM, Sep 22, 2021

The disappearance and death of Gabby Petito and the police hunt for her boyfriend have generated a whirlwind online.

A multitude of armchair detectives and others have been sharing tips, possible sightings and theories by way of TikTok, Instagram, YouTube and other sites.

Whether the frenzy of attention and online sleuthing has helped the investigation is not clear. But it has illuminated the intersection between social media and the public fascination with true-crime stories.

Users have delved into Petito's Spotify music playlists, her boyfriend's reading habits and the couple's digitally bookmarked trails.

On the other hand, some users have spread misinformation, reporting potential sightings that turned out to be wrong.

Adriana Gomez Licon and Lindsay Whitehurst with the Associated Press contributed to this report