Gabby Petito is still missing after she reportedly disappeared during a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend. The 22-year-old woman was last thought to be in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming around Aug. 25, according to her parents. Her mother, Nichole Schmidt officially reported her missing on Sept. 11.
Reports claimed that Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, were traveling across the country in what they described on social media as “van life.” Laundrie has since returned to his home in Florida and has hired an attorney, Petito’s family said. He has allegedly refused to cooperate with authorities during the investigation.
In a press release from Sunday, the Suffolk County Police Department claimed that Suffolk County Police Fifth Squad detectives were investigating Gabby Petito’s disappearance. She was reportedly “traveling in a white, 2012 Ford Transit van with Florida license plate QFTG03” with Brian Laundrie “when she stopped communicating with friends and family.”
Her family reported her missing at 6:55 p.m. Saturday and told the police that “they were last in contact with [Petito] during the last week of August.” The missing woman from Blue Point was described as a “white female, approximately 5 feet 5 inches tall and 110 pounds.” She has blonde hair and blue eyes, the press release claimed. She also has several tattoos, “including one on her finger and one on her forearm that reads ‘let it be.’”
It was reported that the Ford Transit van was recovered, though there were no signs of Gabby Petito. Anyone with information is asked to contact “Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.”
Both Gabby Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, were documenting their cross-country trip on social media. In addition to filming a YouTube video together, the couple each had their own Instagram accounts where they shared pictures of their adventures.
“Downsizing our life to fit into this itty bitty van was the best decision we’ve ever made,” Laundrie captioned one of his posts. His account, called “bizarre_design,” has over 1,000 followers. “With the limited space we wanted to take advantage of every inch, while also keeping everything minimalist.”
In his most recent post, dated Aug. 13, Laundrie wrote a caption dedicated to minimalism, outlining what humans need to survive. He attached pictures of himself in Moab, UT where he was standing on various rock formations. Gabby Petito was not tagged in the post.
Petito has her own Instagram account, named “gabspetito.” On it, she posted pictures of her time living the “van life.” In one post, Petito said that “after going on our first road trip across the country in my tiny car, we felt like there was just so much we missed. Turning this Ford transit essentially into a camper was such an adventure in itself, but I couldn’t love the way it turned out more!
“All the places it’s brought us so far have been amazing! As soon as we got to the Great Sand Dunes I didn’t want to leave, there was so much to hike!” Petito continued the post.
Her most recent post talked about the return of fall. The pictures were posted on Aug. 25 with the caption: “Happy Halloween.” Commenters on the post took the time to share their support for Gabby Petito and her family. One person claimed they were “praying” for Petito’s safe return.
Petito’s father, Joe Petito, explained to reporters that his experience with a missing daughter was like “drowning with your hands tied behind you.” He explained that “you can’t describe it. There’s nothing you can do. You can’t control anything.”
He described his daughter as “very, very free-spirited.” He said that “clothes didn’t impress her. Cars didn’t impress her. Experiences — that’s what impressed her.”
A GoFundMe page, which was created “with the family’s permission,” has raised nearly $7,000 to “aid in the search for Gabby Petito.” The post on the page claimed that “Gabby is now considered missing under suspicious circumstances after no contact and an initial search effort.”
“While we are working with the FBI, multiple law enforcement agencies, and outside resources to pursue any and all leads the family will need funds and resources to travel and pay for expenses related to an investigation and search on the other side of the country,” the post added. “Any help is appreciated.”
The post explained that Petito’s mom, Nichole Schmidt, “said that she last spoke to her daughter on the phone on August 25, but she had received texts from her on the 27th and 30th. However, she told Fox she couldn’t be sure it was Petito or not ‘because it was just a text. I did not verbally speak to her.’”
The mother reportedly claimed that “I can’t say much, but [Petito’s] no longer with the van. I don’t want to say anything more than that but for people looking for her, I want them to look for her now, not look for that van anymore.”
“I just want people to keep looking and not stop until we find her,” Schmidt told reporters. “She’s out there somewhere… We won’t stop until we find her.”