New York-based Gabby Petito has gone missing as she was travelling across the States with her fiancé Brian Laundrie, as the two lived out of a van. Her soon-to-be husband returned home without her before news of her missing spread online.
The 22-year-old Blue Point resident was last seen on August 24 when she checked out of a hotel with her fiancé in Salt Lake City, Utah. Gabby Petito’s family last heard from her the next day when she called to inform them of their journey to Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming.
Her latest Instagram post was taken on August 26, which was captioned “Happy Halloween.” Gabby Petito appeared to be visiting the Monarch Wall in Ogden, Utah. The couple were to visit Yellowstone National Park next, but she went missing before the event. Comments under the post were flooded with prayers for Petito’s safety.
Who is Gabby Petito?
Gabby Petito lived in North Port, Florida, before moving to Blue Point, where she attended Bayport-Blue Point High School. The travel enthusiast was described to be 5'5", around 110 pounds and sporting several tattoos, including one on her forearm reading "let it be."
Petito’s father, Joseph, described her as “very, very free-spirited.” He continued:
“Clothes didn't impress her. Cars didn't impress her. Experiences - that's what impressed her.”
Speaking of his daughter missing, Joseph Petito told Newsday:
“[It's like] drowning with your hands tied behind you, you can't describe it. There's nothing you can do. You can't control anything.”
Her mother, Nichole Schmidt, reported her missing to the Suffolk County Police Department, and an investigation was opened.
Gabby Petito’s fiancé Laundrie has returned to Florida with the couple’s 2021 Ford Transit van. According to Petito's family, he has also hired an attorney as he refuses to cooperate with police officials.
More on the ongoing investigation
Nichole stated that she last spoke to her daughter verbally on the phone on August 25 and received texts from her on the 27th and 30th. She told Fox that she could not verify if they were from Gabby Petito herself as she did not “verbally speak to her.” Nichole Schmidt said:
“I can't say much, but she'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.”
As Gabby Petito’s mother continued to express her grief, she told Newsday:
“I just want people to keep looking and not stop until we find her. She's out there somewhere... We won't stop until we find her.”
Since Gabby Petito's disappearance, her family has opened a GoFundMe page to raise funds for expenses concerning investigations and searches across the country. The page has raised more than $6000. They have also started a Facebook campaign called "Find Gabby," where national park-goers have claimed to recognize the couple's van.