Nichole Schmidt, Gabby Petito’s mother, has increased worries following revelations of Gabby Petito’s last text message, uncovered in a police affidavit.
Before the 22-year-old had vanished during a cross-country road trip, Gabby Petito sent her mother, Nichole Schmidt, multiple text messages and phone call conversations, which her mother says detailed “more and more tension” with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie.
The couple has become embroiled in an investigation that has gripped the nation, with new insights into how their “toxic relationship” may have resulted into Gabby Petito’s death.
There, “appeared to be more and more tension between her and Laundrie,” the text messages revealed from the police affidavit. Gabby Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, said that she was becoming increasingly worried as the trip went on.
On Aug.27, she received a final text message from Gabby before her phone stopped working, writing: “Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls.”
Calling the text message “odd,” Nichole Schmidt said that it was strange for Gabby to call her grandfather “Stan” by his first name, Her mother believes that the text may not have been written by her. Another text followed three days later that just read, “no service in Yosemite,” which they also believe was written by someone else.
Richard Stafford, an attorney representing her father, Joseph Petito and her mother, Nichole Schmidt, said that the family “doubts she wrote it,” and are questioning why the text messages were sent and from whom.
Gabby “stopped posting anything on social media about their trip” shortly after, the affidavit read. “Per her family, this was not normal behavior… and they became more worried about her.”
It’s possible that Brian Laundrie, Gabby Petito’s boyfriend, had sent the text messages, but he has been reported missing as well after returning home to Florida without Gabby. Investigators have also uncovered human remains in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest near Grand Teton National Park that are “consistent” with the description of Gabby Petito.
The police affidavit from the search warrant also revealed a distressing 911 call that may provide more clarity to the couples alleged deteriorating, mentally abusive relationship on the cross-country van trip.
Calling in from Moab, Utah, the 911 operator reported to the Grand County Sheriff’s Office of a “domestic dispute” that turned physical between Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie.
“We drove by and the gentleman was slapping the girl,” the 911 caller alleged. “Then we stopped. They ran up and down the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car, and they drove off.”
Despite reports of a dispute, police later found the couple who said that they were “in love and engaged to be married and desperately didn’t wish to see anyone charged with a crime.”
No charges were filed against the couple, and the dispute was later reported by police as a “mental/emotional health break.”
However, Gabby Petito was described as “confused and emotional,” after Utah Officer Eric Pratt suggested that the couple should be apart just for the night. A National Park Service ranger who said that she was also called to the scene told The Deseret News of Utah that their relationship seemed “toxic” after speaking with them for over 90 minutes.
“I was probably more candid with her than I should’ve been,” National Park ranger Melissa Hulls recalled, but “I was imploring with her to reevaluate the relationship, asking her if she was happy in the relationship with him, and basically saying this was an opportunity for her to find another path, to make a change in her life.”
“We thought we were making the right decision when we left them,” Hulls later said.