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Sep 20, 2021

Axios PM

Good afternoon: Today's PM — edited by Justin Green — is 396 words, a 1.5-minute read.

1 big thing: Gabby Petito's online sleuths
Law enforcement searching for Brian Laundrie at the Carlton Reserve in Florida. Photo: North Port Police Department via AP

Gabby Petito made her name online. Now, social media sleuths are rushing to help investigators crack her disappearance.

  • Police recovered remains believed to be Petito's near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming yesterday, ending a week of coverage that sparked a social media frenzy.

By the numbers: The #GabbyPetito hashtag has more than 500 million views on TikTok, and #FindGabbyPetito has more than 50 million.

  • Her body was reportedly found close to where YouTubers said they saw her van in footage they recorded while camping in late August.

Quick timeline:

  • July 2: Petito and Brian Laundrie left New York for a four-month road trip to Oregon.
  • Aug. 24: Petito last FaceTimed with her mother.
  • Sept. 11: Petito's family reported her missing. Laundrie, now also missing, has not been named a suspect.
  • Sept. 19: YouTubers claimed they'd filmed her van while camping on Aug. 27.

The big picture: Crowd-sleuthed investigations helped track down hundreds of Jan. 6 suspects, but also falsely ID'd several people as suspects in the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing.

Between the lines: These sagas have a racial bias, with more attention paid to missing white women, criminologist Scott Bonn told The Washington Post.

2. White House calls whip video "horrific"
Photo: Paul Ratje/AFP via Getty Images

New photos and video showed Border Patrol agents swinging whips and charging their horses at migrants in Del Rio, Texas, yesterday.

  • Asked about the footage, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said: "I've ... seen the video. I can't imagine what the scenario is where that would be appropriate. ... It's obviously horrific, the footage."
3. Catch up quick

Members of South Korean K-pop band BTS speak to the UN General Assembly today. Photo: John Angelillo/Pool Photo via AP

  1. Tomorrow in New York, President Biden will use his first address before the UN General Assembly to say he "does not believe in the notion of a new Cold War, with the world divided into blocs," Axios' Zachary Basu reports. Keep reading.
  2. The State Department condemned Russia's crackdown on opposition groups during this weekend's parliamentary elections, the busy Zachary Basu reports. The statement said the vote "took place under conditions not conducive to free and fair proceedings." Go deeper.
  3. 🐦 Twitter agreed to pay $800 million to settle a 2016 class-action lawsuit that alleged the tech giant misled investors about user metrics, Axios' Sara Fischer reports. Go deeper.
4. Halloween sneak peek
Photo: Grant Halverson/Getty Images

This Carolina Panthers fan was spotted during the game against the New Orleans Saints at Bank of America Stadium in Charlotte yesterday.