2021 top national stories: Gabby Petito’s cause of death, Virginia woman dropping off human remains in dumpster captivated readers


(Ashley Turner, WNCT illustration)

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) — The year 2021 was one that we will all remember, for sure.

This year’s biggest stories ranged from the world of politics, science, natural disasters and coups. These were stories that not only have a local impact but will also leave a footprint on developments in the future.

2021 top sports stories: Pirates’ bowl game canceled, interest in Godwin, Houston

2021 top NC stories: From illegal squats to spots to raise a family

2021 top entertainment stories: Jeopardy, haunted houses and did you know that Hollywood star was from NC?

2021 top local stories: Year brings heartache, touching moments in ENC

10. Virginia father accused of murdering both of his infant children one year apart scheduled to plead guilty

A Norfolk, Va., man accused of murdering his son, daughter, and girlfriend pleaded guilty in October. The tragic crimes stunned not only those locally but many others here and around the country.

9. 17-year-old arrested for DUI resulting in death in South Carolina

A 17-year-old was arrested in late September for DUI resulting in death after a woman was left dead from a crash on September 11 in South Carolina.

8. ‘Moderna arm’: Some report itchy rash after getting Moderna vaccine

For some people who got the Moderna vaccine earlier this year, they reported getting a rash-type reaction as a side effect. The news both surprised and worried those who had received the vaccine as this and other side effects caught people’s attention.

7. Do I have to start the vaccination process over if I wait to get the second COVID-19 shot?

The people who received the Moderna or Pfizer vaccine began to wonder whether they were considered fully vaccinated? If you missed a shot did you have to start all over, too?

6. After being asked to wear mask, Cruz tells reporter, ‘You’re welcome to step away’

Politics always seems to draw readers and viewers to WNCT.com. That was definitely the case back in March. This story, where Texas Senator Ted Cruz dismissed a reporter after being asked to put on a mask, had many talking for numerous reasons.

5. Virginia community rallies together for five children who recently lost both parents

A town in Virginia came together to help young children who lost both of their parents earlier this year. The community in the Isle of Wight area came together to help donate toys and other items to the children during this rough time in their lives.

4. Police identify woman who allegedly left human remains in Va. dumpster

Chesterfield Police were not the only ones baffled at this story. Many were perplexed after it was learned a woman was wanted after she allegedly dumped a backpack with suspected human remains into a store dumpster in late August.

3. Mystery Wire Podcast: Pyramid-shaped UFOs swarm above Navy destroyer

Photos of UFOs were leaked from a secretive Pentagon investigation. They had people abuzz with talk about aliens and whether we were alone.

2. Former Papa John’s CEO fires back after company name change

We all love pizza and this story was a slice to remember. The massive pizza chain Papa John’s changed its name and the founder said he had no problem with the name change. He said that as long they keep the same high-quality ingredients he is happy.

1. Where is Brian Laundrie? Here is where John Walsh says tips lead

It was the murder case that had the country at attention for weeks wondering what happened to Gabby Petito. After receiving many tips from viewers around the country, John Walsh believed he had an idea where Brain Laundrie was. Walsh said the tips he has received led him to three possible locations: Mexico, the Bahamas, and the Appalachian Trail. Turns out, Laundrie was found dead not far from where his parents lived in Florida.

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