CRIME, POLICE + COURTS

Search for missing woman seen traveling through Utah intensifies

Sep 14, 2021, 8:19 PM | Updated: Dec 30, 2022, 11:21 am
missing Utah gabby petito and brian laundrie...
Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie, as seen in a video posted to their YouTube channel. This is a screen grab of them speaking about their trip to Utah. A Moab investigation has been launched in the city's handling of Petito and Laundrie.

JACKSON HOLE, Wyoming– The search for a missing YouTuber seen traveling through Utah and Wyoming is intensifying in the area around Grand Teton National Park. Meanwhile, her boyfriend isn’t offering any more information on where the missing woman might be in Utah. 

Gabby Petito’s family tells ABC News everything seemed fine the last time they spoke with her while she traveled into Utah and Wyoming. She and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, were traveling in her van across the country and were documenting their “van life” for their new YouTube channel. 

Currently, their Nomadic Statik channel only has one video, which shows the boyfriend and missing woman traveling through Utah earlier this year.

Petito’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, said, “She sounded good, excited to continue her trip and excited to start her YouTube channel. I don’t know, she seemed OK.”

However, investigators confirm Laundrie drove Petito’s van back to Florida, where it was found at his parent’s home. Officials reported the van has been seized and taken into evidence, but they still haven’t found Petito. 

Her father, Jospeh Petito, told ABC News, “We don’t know where she is. We love her, we miss her and we want her home.”

Petito says his daughter was always a free spirit who wouldn’t speak to them for extended periods of time while she traveled, but disappearing like this is highly unusual.

He said, “She always tried to smile, make people smile and always enjoy every moment.”

Investigators say Laundrie has decided not to speak with them and has forwarded all questions to his attorney, Steve Bertolino. Tuesday afternoon, Bertolino issued a statement on behalf of the Laundrie family.

“This is understandably an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family. It is our understanding that a search has been organized for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. On behalf of the Laundrie family it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is reunited with her family. On the advice of counsel the Laundrie family is remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment.”

After this statement was released, the Petito family issued a response.  WABC reports:

“The Schmidt and Petito family are going through the worst moments of their lives. Their beautiful twenty-two year old daughter is missing and the one person that can help find Gabby refuses to help. Brian Laundrie was traveling with Gabby in the Grand Teton – Yellowstone area. They were traveling together in Gabby’s 2012 Ford Transit van. That is where we believe Gabby was last seen. Brian is refusing to tell Gabby’s family where he last saw her. Brian is also refusing to explain why he left Gabby all alone and drove her van to Florida. These are critical questions that require immediate answers. The Schmidt and Petito family beg the Laundrie family to not ‘remain in the background’ but to help find who Brian referred to as the love of his life. How does Brian stay in the background when he is the one person that knows where Gabby is located? The Schmidt and Petito family implore Brian to come forward and at least tell us if we are looking in the right area.”

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