Family members and police are looking for a New York woman who was traveling across the United States with her partner before she was reported missing. Her partner went home without her and no one has heard from him for weeks.
Gabby Petito, 22, of Blue Point, Long Island, was last seen on August 24 as she stepped out of a Salt Lake City hotel with her two-and-a-half-year-old partner, Brian Laundrie. She was reported missing by her family on the evening of September 11, police said.
Ms Petito and Mr Laundrie had documented their experiences of traveling as “van-lifers” across the United States on a YouTube channel called “Nomadic Statik”. She regularly faced her mother, but her mother worried when she hadn’t heard from her in days and notified the authorities.
North Port Florida police on Wednesday revealed Mr. Laundrie was a “person of interest” in the case.
They said Mr Laundrie returned to Florida alone in the van on September 1, 10 days before his girlfriend went missing.
Here’s everything we know about the case:
In a press release, the Suffolk County Police Department explained that Gabby’s family last contacted her in late August. According to her mother, Gabby faced FaceTime about three times a week. Her mother received texts on August 26 and 27 from her daughter’s phone, but said she couldn’t be sure they were from her daughter. “I don’t know if it was technically her or not, because it was just a text. I haven’t spoken to her verbally, ”she said in an interview with CBS News.
Prior to the latest communication, Ms Petito was reportedly in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. Ms Petito’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, told Fox News the couple were heading to Yellowstone National Park next, but Ms Petito did not arrive. “The first few days when I had no answers, I thought she was in a place with no service. It’s like the eighth and ninth day that I got really worried, ”Ms. Schmidt said.
His mother Nicole Schmidt told the Daily mail that on September 10, she tried to text Brian and his mother Roberta Laundrie on September 10, but they had not responded.
Gabrielle Petito was reported missing to the Suffolk County Police Department by her family on September 11 at around 6:55 p.m.
Mr. Laundrie has since returned home to Florida without Gabby. Police have since recovered the couple’s 2012 Ford Transit van.
Police in Florida, where the couple had previously lived, said the circumstances of their disappearance “seemed strange.”
“The North Port Police Department is actively assisting in this matter in conjunction with the Suffolk County Police Department where she was reported missing,” the department said in a statement. “The Suffolk County Police Department is investigating the disappearance of a woman from Blue Point who went missing on a trip.”
Utah Police have revealed that officers were called over an “incident” involving Ms Petito and her boyfriend just two weeks before her last sight or word.
Moab Police Chief Bret Edge told Fox News: “Our officers responded to an incident involving Brian Laundrie and Gabrielle Petito on August 12, 2021, but neither Brian nor Gabrielle were to report.”
He said the police had carried out an investigation and found that there was not enough evidence to justify criminal charges.
Look for answers
North Point Police spokesperson Josh Taylor said on Tuesday The independent Mr. Laundrie’s parents refused to allow officers to speak to him and gave them the contact details of the family’s lawyer.
When asked if the police found anything suspicious in the family’s actions, Mr Taylor said: “Common sense is at stake.
“We don’t even have any evidence that a crime was committed, other than concerns and things that don’t add up that would potentially let you guess that.”
“It is possible that something very serious has happened here, she has not been seen for weeks and now he is back here with the vehicle and we have been told to speak to the family lawyer.” Mr. Taylor said.
Later that day, a lawyer for the Laundrie family released a statement saying they hoped Ms Petito’s search would be successful.
“It is an extremely difficult time for the Petito family and the Laundrie family.
“I understand that a search has been arranged for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
“On behalf of the Laundrie family, we hope that the search for Miss Petito will be successful and that Miss Petito will be reunited with her family.
“On the advice of the lawyer, the Laundrie family remain in the background at this point and will have no further comment.”
Ms. Petito’s family is leading the search for her. Gabby’s mother Nichole Schmidt gave a press conference on September 13. “As a mother, I had concerns that a daughter would go on road trips in general,” Ms. Schmidt said. “But I felt safe… they had a plan, a route, and we were thrilled for them.”
Speaking directly to Gabby, her father Joseph Petito said: “Gabby, we just want you to come home,” he urged. ” Call us. Let us know that you are doing well. Go home, please.
Her father told Newsday that the family has suffered a lot since her disappearance: “It’s like drowning with your hands tied behind you. You can’t describe it. You can’t do anything. You can’t control anything, ”he said.
“Pride is not a problem right now. My only daughter is missing, ”he said. “I’ll do, family, Gabby’s mother, we’ll do everything we can to find her.”
Ms Petito’s search appears to be focused on Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, the last place she was allegedly seen.
Ms Schmidt’s husband and son put up two missing person posters on their Instagram accounts, along with a photo of Ms Petito, to help with her search. Both said they were unable to “comment further as there is an ongoing investigation.”
A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family with their research and pay investigators and travel costs. He has so far received contributions of over $ 25,000.
Her stepfather James Schmidt was heading from Long Island to Wyoming on Tuesday to join in the search for Ms Petito.
Family friend Gary Rider said The independent: “We plan to meet with investigators and trace known locations and hope to help verify some information we have received through the advice and investigation.”
Social media posts
The couple had saved money and quit their jobs to travel across the United States. Their Instagram accounts documented parts of their trip, with the first post on July 2. They have published articles on Monument Rocks in Kansas, Colorado Springs, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Zion National Park and Bryce National Park in Utah and Canyonlands National Park.
“Reducing our lives to fit this tiny little van was the best decision we’ve ever made,” Mr. Laundrie wrote on Instagram this month. “Sacrificing space to wake up in nature every day has not been a sacrifice at all.”
Ms Petito’s Instagram account was mysteriously disabled before being re-established on Wednesday, adding to the family’s distress.
Their lawyer told WABC-TV: “We have no idea who deleted Gabby’s Instagram account.
“We reached out to Instagram and the FBI to let them know it was deleted.”
Ms. Petito is described as a white female, measuring around 5ft 5in and weighing 110lb. She has blonde hair and blue eyes, and a triangle tattoo on her left arm, two finger tattoos and one on her forearm that says “let it be”. She also has a navel piercing.
Detectives are asking those with information on Petito’s disappearance to contact Crime Stoppers anonymously at 1-800-220-TIPS.
The Independent Gt