Dateline NBC: What happened to Gabrielle Britney Ujlaky?
The disappearance of Gabrielle Britney Ujlaky under mysterious circumstances led the Elko County Sheriff’s Department to believe that Britney had run away with the tall man she was reported to be last seen with. However, her body was found strangled, stabbed, and wrapped in a blue tarp after three days of manhunt in Burner Basin.
Britney Ujlaky (16) was last spotted with her friend and big brother, Bryce Dickey (18), who was supposed to drop her home. The physical evidence found at the crime scene led investigators from the Elko County Sheriff’s Department back to Dickey, who was then arrested and sentenced to 70 years in prison.
The upcoming Dateline NBC episode titled Open Desert will delve into the horrors of Britney Ujlaky’s disappearance and murder on Thursday, December 7, 2023, at 10 pm EST on NBC.
Who was Gabrielle Britney Ujlaky? Details Explored
Gabrielle Lynn “Britney” Ujlaky was born to Alisha Tolhurst and James Ujlaky in Colorado Springs, Colorado, on June 4, 2003. Britney grew up in Spring Creek, Nevada, and was a rodeo right from childhood. She grew up loving horses and aspired to be a Rodeo Queen when she grew up.
Ujlaky was a student at the Spring Creek High School. She switched to homeschooling as she was bullied at her school.
According to PEOPLE, Britney’s childhood friend Saquarra Ashby revealed that she wanted to join The Navy to travel around the world. Ujlaky also wanted to be a special effects makeup artist as she loved spending time with her makeup. Ashby further mentioned that being a cowgirl was a mentality for Ujlaky.
Britney Ujlaky’s obituary says that she loved spending her time horse training, grooming, and feeding the horses at the 2U Ranch.
"Britney also loved flowers and was always picking a flower and giving it to whoever was around and would tell them "no matter how bad a day you are having a flower will make you feel better,"" her obituary reads.
Britney's mother told Oxygen:
"This girl was the real, legit, nitty gritty Nevada cowgirl. Very rarely was she in an arena. She was out doing ranch work."
Gabrielle Britney Ujlaky was last seen when she joined her father, James Ujlaky, in his band practice near Angel Park. Her friend, Bryce Dickey, was supposed to drop her home later. According to the Daily Mirror, Britney told her dad,
“I’ll beat you home."
James Ujlaky reported her missing after a couple of hours upon reaching home, as calls and texts to Britney's phone went unanswered.
What happened to Britney Ujlaky?
Britney Ujlaky was last seen on March 8, 2020, before she was picked up by Bryce Dickey, whom she referred to as a big brother. Dickey picked Ujlaky up in Elko, and the two drove around for almost four hours before she asked to be dropped off at Spring Creek High School.
Her disappearance was considered a runaway case after Dickey informed the investigators from the Elko County Sheriff’s Department that she got into a green Ford F-150 pickup truck of a tall man in a cowboy hat.
He showed the police his unanswered messages to her on Snapchat, leading them to look for a green pickup truck, but to no avail. However, his claims were found to be inconsistent with further investigation and records from surveillance cameras.
After three days of searching, Britney's body was found on March 11, 2020, in Burner Basin, 15 miles northwest of Spring Creek, wrapped in a blue tarp. Per court documents, Britney was r*ped, strangled, and stabbed to death. Her neck was slashed so deep that her carotid artery was cut in half.
The crime scene contained two important pieces of physical evidence - a used condom that contained the DNA of both Britney and the male and a pair of blood-stained boots. Both the DNA and the boots were traced back to Dickey, who then mentioned having consensual s*x with the victim.
Further evidence revealed that Dickey tried to steer Britney's friends away from the Burner Basin area after following their GPS positions on social media. Bryce Dickey was arrested on March 19, 2020, under charges of first-degree murder and s*xual assault with a deadly weapon. Dickey received a 70-year sentence from Elko County Judge Mason Simons.