Family members and police are searching for a woman in New York who traveled across the United States with her partner before she was reported missing. Her partner returned home without her and no one has heard from her in a few weeks.
Gabby Petito, 22, of Blue Point, Long island, was last seen on August 24 when she checked 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 say.
Petito and Laundrie had documented their travel experiences as “van-lifers” across the United States on a YouTube channel called “Nomadic statics‘. She would regularly FaceTime her mother, but her mother became worried when she had not heard from her for days and notified the authorities.
Here is everything we know about the case:
In a press release, the Suffolk County Police Department stated that Gabby’s family last had contact with her in late August. According to her mother, Gabby would faceTime about three times a week. Her mother received text messages on August 26 and 27 from her daughter’s phone but said she could not be sure they were from her daughter. “I do not know if it was technically she or not, because it was just a text. I did not speak verbally to her, she says in an interview with CBS News.
Prior to the latest announcement, Petito is believed to have been in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Petito’s mother Nicole Schmidt told Fox news The couple was on their way to Yellowstone National Park next, but Petito did not arrive. “The first days when I did not get an answer, I thought she was in a place without service. It was like day eight and nine that I really got worried, says Schmidt. Gabrielle Petito was reported missing to the Suffolk County Police Department by her family on September 11 around 6:55 p.m.
Mr Laundrie has since returned to his home in Florida without Gabby. Police have since recovered the couple’s Ford Transit van in 2012.
Police in Florida, where the couple previously lived, said the circumstances of her disappearance “seemed odd.”
“The North Port Police Department is actively assisting in this case along 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 Blue Point woman who disappeared during the trip.”
Petito’s family leads the search for her. Gabby’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, held a press conference on September 13. “As a mother, I was worried that a daughter would go on a road trip in general,” Schmidt said. “But I felt safe … they had a plan, an itinerary and we were happy with them.”
Her father, Joseph Petito, spoke directly to Gabby and said, “Gabby, we just want you to come home,” he urged. “Call us. Let us know you’re OK. Come home, please. “
Her father told me News day that the family has suffered a lot since she disappeared: “It’s like drowning with your hands tied behind you. You can not describe it. There is nothing you can do. You can not control anything, he says.
“Pride is not a problem right now. My only daughter is missing, he says. “I will do, the family, Gabby’s mother, we will do everything we can to find her.”
Ms Schmidt’s husband and son have posted two missing posters on their Instagram accounts and a picture of Ms Petito as an aid in the search for her. Both said they could not “comment further because there is an active investigation”.
A GoFundMe page has been created to help the family with their search and pay for investigators and travel expenses. It has so far received grants of more than $ 23,000.
Posts on social media
The couple had saved their money and stopped working to travel across the United States. Their Instagram accounts documented parts of their journey, with the first post on July 2. They published about Kansas’ Monument Rocks, 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 in with this sleek little car was the best decision we’ve ever made,” Laundrie wrote on Instagram that month. “Sacrificing space to wake up in nature every day has not been a sacrifice at all.”
Petito is described as a white female, about 5 feet 5 inches long and 110 pounds. 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 asking those who have information about Petito’s disappearance can contact Crime Stoppers anonomoysly at 1-800-220-TIPS.