A 22-year-old YouTuber who had been documenting her “van life” with her boyfriend was reported missing on Saturday — as her boyfriend reportedly returned home without her.
According to the Suffolk County Police Department, Gabrielle Petito last contacted her family on August 25 when she was near Grand Teton National Park in Jackson, Wyoming. The New York native was driving around the country in a van with 23-year-old boyfriend Brian Laundrie, chronicling their travels on YouTube.
The pair hit the road on July 2, driving their white 2012 Ford Transit Connect from their home in North Port, Florida, to the Monument Rocks formation in Kansas. They then went to Colorado’s Great Sand Dunes National Park, before heading to the Zion, Bryce, and Canyonlands national parks in Utah.
But their trip took an extremely unfortunate turn: Petito has seemingly vanished without a trace!
The missing woman’s father, Joe Petito, told The Daily Beast he knew something was wrong when Gabby stopped checking in. He shared:
“We had been in touch with her as she traveled. I’d speak to her once a week or so, her mom spoke to her two or three times a week. My son would talk to her often on Snapchat, FaceTime; my niece would be in constant contact with her.”
After two weeks of being unable to reach their daughter, Gabby’s mother reported her missing on Saturday, September 11. A Suffolk County PD spokesman told the outlet that an investigation into Petito’s whereabouts is open and active. Meanwhile, Laundrie is now back in Florida, has hired a lawyer, and isn’t cooperating with police, per DailyMail.com. Not cooperating? Over the whereabouts of his girlfriend??
When asked what he thought of Gabby’s boyfriend, her dad told The Daily Beast:
“I’ve got thoughts about the guy, but I can’t share them… I would love to say more, but I can’t.”
Investigators issued a bulletin asking the public for any information they might have, describing the missing woman as “a white female, approximately 5 feet 5 inches tall and 110 pounds.” The description continued:
“She has blonde hair and blue eyes, and several tattoos, including one on her finger and one on her forearm that reads ‘let it be.’”
As the search for his daughter continues, Joe remains optimistic that she’ll be found. He added:
“Yes, this is tragic and all that other stuff, but I’m sure she’ll be found. I have to believe that. Because otherwise, I’ll just break down and cry. So I’m focusing on the fact that she’s somewhere, we’ve just got to find out where. Getting her home healthy is all that matters right now. That’s it.”
A GoFundMe campaign to help fund the search has so far raised over $25,000 of its $30,000 goal. Our hearts are with Gabby’s family as the investigation continues.
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