Every missing and murdered case should get the same attention as Gabby Petito’s

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When the news of Gabby Petito’s disappearance and subsequent homicide broke, internet sleuths and armchair true-crime experts on TikTok took the opportunity to analyze her case and pose their theories.

Petito was officially reported missing on Sept. 11 and her body was found on Sept. 19. 

Her case received wide-spread attention from people online and through the media, which significantly aided and impacted the discovery of her remains.

Petito’s story is a tragedy. She was only 22 years-old and should not have had her life horrifically taken from her. 

But she is not the only person worthy of justice.

In 2020, more than 540,000 people went missing in the United States.  

Crowdsourced crime-solving can clearly have a positive impact in helping law enforcement find a missing person. 

However, the same treatment and urgency should be extended to other unsolved missing persons cases as well. 

According to the Native Women’s Association of Canada, there are over 2000 Indigenous women missing and murdered in Canada.

For BIPOC victims, the focus from the media and general public is rarely, if ever the same as it is for white victims. 

Petito’s family did not have to beg to receive media coverage of their daughter. They didn’t have to fight with the police to take their concerns seriously so their child could be found.

“Missing white woman syndrome,” highlights this notion. It’s mainstream media’s apparent fascination with white women who have gone missing and their disinterest regarding women of  colour in the same or similar situations. 

More than 400 Indigenous women have gone missing in the state of Wyoming over the past decade where authorities also found Petito eight days after her disappearance was reported. 

I, like many people today, have a fascination with true-crime. But if you’re going to listen to two white women talk on a self-made podcast about the murders and mysteries surrounding the disappearances of other white women in your spare time, why not diversify your scope? 

Engage with stories about missing and murdered women who aren’t popularized and exploited in newspapers like the Daily Mail and Sun. 

Pressure should be put on law enforcement to address these countless cases with the same devotion they gave towards finding Petito. It shouldn’t take public fascination and conspiracy theorists to push action forward when people’s lives are at stake. News outlets, most of which are owned and run predominately by white men, should not be dictating which lives are more worthy of people’s care and concern.

“I want to ask everyone to help all of the people that are missing and need help,” Petito’s father said in a public statement on Sept. 28.

“It’s on all of you, everyone that’s in this room, to do that. And if you don’t do that for other people that are missing, that’s a shame because it’s not just Gabby that deserves that.”

“So look to yourselves on why that’s not being done,” he concluded, addressing members of the media who were also present in the room.

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