SUFFOLK COUNTY, N.Y. — A woman who is originally from Long Island, New York has gone missing during a cross-country trip with her boyfriend and the man has refused to cooperate with the investigation and retained an attorney upon returning to Florida, according to reports.
The last known location of Gabby Petito, 22, was in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park in late August after departing on the trek with her boyfriend — identified on social media as Brian Laundrie — the month before, Newsday reported.
Nicole Schmidt, Petito’s mother, is very concerned about the mysterious disappearance of her daughter. Schmidt reported Petito missing to the Suffolk County Police Department late Saturday.
The couple was traveling in a white 2012 Ford Transit van with Florida plates. Law enforcement authorities confirmed the vehicle has been recovered, but did not provide a location or further details.
Gabby Petito (left) was last known to be in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park in late August. (Youtube)
It’s noteworthy that Laundrie is reportedly refusing to cooperate with the investigation. He has returned to his home in Florida and hired an attorney, the Daily Mail reported, citing her family.
“Downsizing our life to fit into this itty bitty van was the best decision we’ve ever made,” Laundrie wrote on Instagram on a page called “bizarre_design.” “With the limited space we wanted to take advantage of every inch, while also keeping everything minimalist.”
On Aug. 25, a photo of Petito was posted on an Instagram account believed to be hers. It links to a video on a YouTube channel featuring a woman identified as Petito and a man traveling in a converted van, New York Post reported.
The Aug. 13 clip reveals scenes of the woman in various outdoor settings.
On July 10, Petito wrote: “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 added.
Suffolk County Police confirmed that Fifth Squad detectives are investigating the woman’s disappearance.
“Gabrielle Petito was traveling in a white, 2012 Ford Transit van with Florida license plate QFTG03 (recovered) with a companion when she stopped communicating with friends and family,” police said in a release.
Schmidt told Newsday that she last saw her daughter via FaceTime around Aug. 23 or 24. The mother continued receiving text messages until Aug. 30, but wasn’t sure it was her daughter sending the messages, the Post reported.
Joe Petito, the missing woman’s father, told Newsday that her disappearance is like “drowning with your hands tied behind you,” adding, “You can’t describe it. There’s nothing you can do. You can’t control anything.”
Joe recently moved from New York to Florida to be closer to his daughter, who had moved to the city of North Port in western Florida with her boyfriend about two years ago, the Post reported.
Petito returned to New York on June 17 to attend her brother’s high school graduation. Afterward, she departed on the cross-country adventure, Schmidt said.
Last month, the couple arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah, but left amid heavy wildfire smoke, according to Fox News.
“I can’t say much, but she’s no longer with the van,” Schmidt told Fox News. “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.”
Joe described his daughter to Newsday as “very, very free-spirited. Clothes didn’t impress her. Cars didn’t impress her. Experiences — that’s what impressed her.”
According to a GoFundMe page, Petito is described as 5 feet 5, 110 pounds, blond with blue eyes.
“She has a triangle tattoo on left arm with flowers and a ‘Let it be’ tattoo written on her right arm. She has a Belly button piercing,” the post said.
“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, any help is appreciated,” it added.