YouTuber Gabrielle Petito Missing After "Van Life" Cross-Country Road Trip With Fiancé

YouTuber Gabrielle Petito was reported missing by her parents on Sept. 11 after weeks went by without contact.

By Cydney Contreras Sep 15, 2021 9:31 PMTags
Gabrielle Petito, Gabby PetitoInstagram

Police are searching for clues to the whereabouts of YouTuber Gabrielle Petito after her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, returned home without her on Sept. 1.

According to New York's Suffolk County Police Department, Petito's parents reported her missing on Saturday, Sept. 11. They stated that they had not spoken to her since the last week of August, when she was supposedly traveling through the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. 

On Aug. 19, the couple shared a video of their cross-country road trip titled "VAN LIFE | Beginning Our Van life Journey." The 8-minute vlog showed Petito and Laundrie as they drove through California, Utah and other states in their 2012 Ford Transit van.

Petito later posted a photo of herself holding a knitted pumpkin on Aug. 25. 

According to NBC News, Petito's mother, Nicole Schmidt, said that she last FaceTimed the 22-year-old on Aug. 24 and was receiving texts from Petito's phone until Aug. 30. However, NBC News reports that Schmidt was unsure if the texts were actually sent by her daughter.

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Meanwhile, the Suffolk County Police Department said in a Sept. 15 press release that Laundrie had returned to his parents' home in North Port, Fla., 10 days before Petito was reported missing on Sept. 11. They added, "As of now, Brian has not made himself available to be interviewed by investigators or has provided any helpful details," and also confirmed that he is a person of interest.

Authorities stated that they have no reason to believe a "crime occurred here in North Port." But they stated that the couple's van was "fully processed for evidence along with FBI agents" on Tuesday evening.

NBC News reports that Schmidt had "general" concerns about her daughter's decision to travel cross-country with her boyfriend of two years, but stated that the family was "excited for them."

"She wanted to cross the country in the camper van and live the van life and live free. This was her dream," Schmidt said in a separate statement to KSL TV.

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Schmidt added that she was unsure if something went wrong during the course of their trip, saying, "She seemed OK to me at the time, other than I don't know where the relationship was going with the boyfriend.

"She could be alone somewhere. She could be stranded somewhere in the wilderness and she needs help," Schmidt pleaded. "I hope everyone is looking for her."

Police are asking anyone with information about Petito's whereabouts to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.