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Van-lifer, 22, disappears after cross-country trip to Yellowstone with her fiancé

A New York woman who was traveling across the United States with her fiancé, while living out of a van, has been reported missing after he returned home without her.

Gabby Petito, 22, of Blue Point, New York, was last seen on August 24 when she checked out of a hotel with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie in Salt Lake City, Utah.

The following day 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, posted on August 25, shows her visiting the Monarch Wall in Ogden, Utah with the caption ‘Happy Halloween’. The pair were heading for Yellowstone National Park but Petito never made it.

Laundrie has since returned to his Florida home with the couple’s 2012 Ford Transit van, which police said has since been recovered. He has reportedly hired an attorney and refused to cooperate with investigators, according to her family.  

‘[It’s like] drowning with your hands tied behind you,’ Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, told Newsday of his daughter’s disappearance. ‘You can’t describe it. There’s nothing you can do. You can’t control anything.’

The Suffolk County Police Department opened an investigation after her mom Nichole Schmidt reported her missing just before 7pm on Saturday, the agency wrote in a press release.  

Gabby Petito of Blue Point, 22, and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, set out on their road trip in early July, first driving from Laundrie’s home state of Florida to Petito’s in New York. Then, the pair set out West toward Salt Lake City. She was reported missing by her family on Saturday, and last posted on her Instagram account in Ogden, Utah, two weeks ago (photo pictured)

Fiancé Brian Laundrie (pictured left) has since returned home to Florida with the pair's camper van, according to missing Gabby Petito's father Joseph Petito, and is not cooperating with police in their investigation

Fiancé Brian Laundrie (pictured left) has since returned home to Florida with the pair’s camper van, according to missing Gabby Petito’s father Joseph Petito, and is not cooperating with police in their investigation

'I can’t say much, but she’s no longer with the van,' Schmidt told the outlet of her daughter. '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'

‘I can’t say much, but she’s no longer with the van,’ Schmidt told the outlet of her daughter. ‘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’

Neither Petito’s family nor her boyfriend Laundrie could be reached for comment. 

Petito was described as 5′ 5′, around 110 pounds, with several tattoos, including one on her forearm reading ‘let it be’. 

She lived in North Port, Florida, with her boyfriend after moving from Blue Point, where she grew up and attended Bayport – Blue Point High School two years ago. 

Father Joseph, who moved to Vero Beach, Florida, in June to be closer to his daughter, described her as ‘very, very free spirited’.

‘Clothes didn’t impress her. Cars didn’t impress her. Experiences – that’s what impressed her.’  

The couple started their trip on July 2 after Petito attended her brother’s graduation in New York on June 17. They planned to reach Portland, Oregon, and visit a family friend for Halloween.   

The pair had documented their conversion of a 2012 Ford van into a camper and their life traveling in it on YouTube and Instagram, and were developing a social media presence under the name ‘Nomadic Statik.’

Per their Instagram accounts, the pair began their trip on July 2 and traveled to Kansas’ Monument Rocks, Colorado Springs, Great Sand Dunes National Park, Zion National Park and Bryce National Park in Utah and Canyonlands National Park since July 2.

‘Downsizing out life to fit into this itty bitty van was the best decision we’ve ever made,’ Laundrie wrote on Instagram in early July. 

‘Sacrificing space to wake up in nature everyday has been no sacrifice at all.’ 

Neither Petito's family nor her boyfriend Laundrie could be reached for comment at press time. The Suffolk County Police Department opened an investigation after her family reported her missing just before 7 pm on Saturday, the agency wrote in a press release

Neither Petito’s family nor her boyfriend Laundrie could be reached for comment at press time. The Suffolk County Police Department opened an investigation after her family reported her missing just before 7 pm on Saturday, the agency wrote in a press release

'[My daughter] was last physically seen on August 24th when she checked out of a hotel with her boyfriend salt Lake City, Utah,' said Gabby Petito's father, Joseph Petito, on Facebook. '[Brian Laundrie] has since returned home and retained a lawyer, and is uncooperative currently.'

‘[My daughter] was last physically seen on August 24th when she checked out of a hotel with her boyfriend salt Lake City, Utah,’ said Gabby Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, on Facebook. ‘[Brian Laundrie] has since returned home and retained a lawyer, and is uncooperative currently.’

The engaged couple had documented their conversion of a 2012 Ford van into a camper and their life traveling in it on YouTube and Instagram

The engaged couple had documented their conversion of a 2012 Ford van into a camper and their life traveling in it on YouTube and Instagram

Neither Petito's family nor her boyfriend Laundrie could be reached for comment at press time. The Suffolk County Police Department opened an investigation after her family reported her missing just before 7 pm on Saturday, the agency wrote in a press release. The pair are pictured together in Canyonlands National Park in Utah

Neither Petito’s family nor her boyfriend Laundrie could be reached for comment at press time. The Suffolk County Police Department opened an investigation after her family reported her missing just before 7 pm on Saturday, the agency wrote in a press release. The pair are pictured together in Canyonlands National Park in Utah

Petito and Laundrie had turned back from Utah in late August to evade wildfire smoke, Nicole Schmidt said, and had planned to go to Yellowstone National Park next.

Nicole said that she last spoke to her daughter on the phone on August 25, but she had received texts from her on the 27th and 30th. However, she told Fox she couldn’t be sure it was Petito or not ‘because it was just a text. I did not verbally speak to her.’

‘I can’t say much, but she’s no longer with the van,’ Schmidt told the outlet of her daughter. ‘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.’ 

Schmidt said she would remain vigilant and keep up the search for her daughter. 

‘I just want people to keep looking and not stop until we find her,’ Schmidt told Newsday. ‘She’s out there somewhere… We won’t stop until we find her.’ 

Schmidt’s husband and son TJ have posted two missing persons posters on their Instagrams as well as a picture of Petito, appealing for her safe return. 

Both warned they were unable to ‘comment any further because there is an active investigation.’

Since Petito’s disappearance, her family has launched a GoFundMe that has accrued $5,000 in just six hours. They have also started a social media campaign on Facebook, simply called ‘Find Gabby,’ where a number of national park visitors have claimed to recognize the pair’s van. 

‘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,’ reads the body of the fundraiser.

'Downsizing out life to fit into this itty bitty van was the best decision we've ever made,' Laundrie wrote on Instagram in early July.

‘Downsizing out life to fit into this itty bitty van was the best decision we’ve ever made,’ Laundrie wrote on Instagram in early July.

Petito is an artist, a vegetarian and a yoga enthusiast, according to her Instagram page. She was reported missing on Saturday evening, and her family has not heard from her since August 25

Petito is an artist, a vegetarian and a yoga enthusiast, according to her Instagram page. She was reported missing on Saturday evening, and her family has not heard from her since August 25

'I love the van,' Petito said in the couple's YouTube video, which was posted three weeks ago

‘I love the van,’ Petito said in the couple’s YouTube video, which was posted three weeks ago

Since Petito's disappearance, her family has launched a GoFundMe that has accrued $5,000 in just six hours. They have also started a social media campaign on Facebook, simply called ' Find Gabby ,' where a number of national park visitors have claimed to recognize the pair's van

Since Petito’s disappearance, her family has launched a GoFundMe that has accrued $5,000 in just six hours. They have also started a social media campaign on Facebook, simply called ‘ Find Gabby ,’ where a number of national park visitors have claimed to recognize the pair’s van

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