What you should know
- The family of a missing Long Island woman asks for help finding her. The young woman was traveling through Wyoming with her fiancé on a “van life trip” in which she documented her activities on Instagram and YouTube.
- Gabrielle Petito’s family believed she was in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming when she last contacted them; They haven’t heard from her since the last week of August, but reported her missing on September 11.
- The truck has been recovered, but the police have not provided more details about where it was located, the state of the truck or what could have been found inside.
NEW YORK – An attorney representing the family of the Long Island woman’s fiancé who disappeared while traveling through Wyoming on a “van journey of life” issued a short statement Tuesday calling this an “extremely difficult time” for all. those involved.
The fiancé, Brian Laundrie, and his family will not comment further at this time, according to the statement. He also noted: “We understand” that a search has been organized for Gabrielle (Gabby, as her relatives say), 22 years old, at Blue Point, in or near Grand Teton National Park, where she was thought to have been for last time.
“On behalf of the Laundrie family, we hope that the search for Ms. Petito will be successful and that Ms. Petito will rejoin her family,” the statement said.
Petito was reported missing on September 11 by her family, but police say the family had not heard from her since the last week of August. She was traveling with her fiancé in a white 2012 Ford Transit when she stopped communicating.
Petito told her family that she and her fiancé were heading to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming when she last contacted them.
The truck has been recovered, but the police have not provided more details about where it was located, the state of the truck or what could have been found inside. According to Petito’s relatives, the fiancé drove the truck back to his home in Florida, alone.
The young woman last posted photos on her Instagram profile on August 25, which was also the last day she spoke with her mother, and several social media users have commented on her photos, praying for her safe return. Comments on her fiancé’s profile have turned accusatory, but police have not identified him or anyone else as a person of interest, and have not linked him to the disappearance.
The family has not said much about the fiancé. A post on a Facebook group created to help search for Petito read Monday, “WE ARE JUST LOOKING FOR GABBY RIGHT NOW.” They have also said that the two had been dating for at least two years. They met in high school, but later rekindled their relationship.
They said they liked the fiancé and approved of the trip the two were taking at the time Petito disappeared. Petito left for the trip on July 2 from his mother’s house. Her mother, Nicole Schmidt, told multiple outlets that she had last received text messages from her daughter’s phone on August 27 and 30, but never spoke directly to her.
“I think she’s in danger because she’s not in contact with us. She could be stranded somewhere in the desert,” Schmidt said. “The first few days I didn’t get any answers. Day eight, day nine, I got really worried and thought she couldn’t be off the grid for that long.”
The couple appeared to have recently started a YouTube channel where they documented their “van life,” a popular lifestyle and genre on the platform. His first video was posted on August 19. He featured 8-minute footage of his trips in his white van.
The boyfriend’s whereabouts on Monday was not immediately clear. Our sister chain NBC New York he was unable to reach him for comment.
“Gabby is 22 years old, she is a beautiful soul inside and out. She is artistic, creative, loving and free-spirited,” said her stepfather, James Schmidt. “We love her, we miss her, and we want her to come home.”
Petito’s father, Joe Petito, told Newsday that her daughter’s disappearance feels like “drowning with her hands tied behind her back.”
He added: “You cannot describe it. There is nothing you can do. You cannot control anything.”
Gabrielle Petito is described as a white female, approximately 5 feet 5 inches tall and 110 pounds. He has blonde hair and blue eyes, and several tattoos, including one on his finger and one on his forearm that says “let it be“.
Suffolk detectives are asking anyone with information on Petito’s disappearance to contact Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.