Police in Long Island, Florida are investigating the sudden disappearance of a 22-year-old woman who went missing while on a road trip with her fiancÃ©. Gabby Petito, 22, went on a road trip with her fiancÃ© Brian Laundrie and was last known to be in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming late last month.
However, Laundrie has returned to Florida but without Petito, and has hired an attorney and refused to talk. Petito's parents are now worrying about their daughter daughter's safety but are trying to stay optimistic that she will return home as police continue to look for Petito.
Petito's parents who have been trying to stay optimistic that their daughter will return safely, finally broke their silence on Monday, with the mom saying at a news conference, "I believe she's gonna come home."
Petito was last known to be in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming late last month with Laundrie, believed to be her boyfriend. Since then the family hasn't heard from Petito, although Laundrie has returned to Florida. Schmidt said the family hasn't heard from her daughter since then.
"I believe a mother's instinct is the most powerful," Petito's mother Nicole Schmidt said during the press conference holding a picture of her daughter. "We are looking for her. We are not focusing on anything else, but finding her . . . I believe she's gonna come home," she said.
According to Newsday, Schmidt last FaceTimed her daughter around August 23 or 24. Although she received texts from Petito until August 30, she is unsure whether her daughter was the one sending them.
Laundrie, on the other hand has refused to speak after his return without Petito. He has reportedly hired an attorney and has refused to speak publicly about Petito's whereabouts. When asked about Laundrie at the press conference, both parents said, "We can't comment on that."
What Happened to Petito?
As of now police is clueless about Petito. Laundrie returned to the home in North Port, Florida, where the two had moved two years ago, driving the couple's 2012 Ford Transit van. Police confirmed that they have recovered the vehicle form his home late on Saturday night.
Schmidt said Laundrie and Petito attended high school together and later "rekindled" their relationship â and had been living together in Florida for 2 1/2 years. However, she wouldn't confirm if the couple was engaged.
According to Schmidt, her daughter left from New York on July 2 and were due to wrap up their trip by visiting friends in Portland at the end of October. Laundrie and Petito had been producing a web series called 'Nomadik Static', sharing their adventures with the world.
Photographs from their journey are also visible on an Instagram account called bizarre_design_, which appears to be owned by Laundrie.
Schmidt told Fox news that she texted Petito on August 27 and 30, but now says she isn't sure if it was her daughter who was on the other end of the exchange because it wasn't verbal and she didn't share any photos of herself.
"It was just a text. I did not verbally speak to her," she 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."
Asked about her doubts over the texts at the press conference, Schmidt again said, "I can't comment on that." She also declined to share the content of those texts. Interestingly, Petito's family too hasn't yet contacted Laundrie.
Petito's father Joe, who lives in Vero Beach, Florida, was also present at the press conference and pleaded for help to bring his daughter home. He said to "focus on finding her. I can't implore that enough. All of the crap afterward will sort itself out. Please find her. I beg you."
Petito, who grew up in Blue Point, N.Y., was last seen on August 24 checking out of a hotel with Laundrie in Salt Lake City, Utah. On August 25, she made her final call to her family, telling them that she and Laundrie had traveled to Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
Her last Instagram post on August 25 shows her visiting the Monarch Wall in Ogden, Utah with the caption 'Happy Halloween'.