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North Port, FL

22-year-old Gabrielle Petito missing after boyfriend returns from cross-country trip without her

WSOC Charlotte
WSOC Charlotte
 2021-09-15
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NORTH PORT, Fla. — Police are investigating the disappearance of 22-year-old Gabrielle Petito after her boyfriend returned from a cross-country road trip without her.

Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, set out on a cross-country road trip in early July. The couple drove their Ford Transit van from Florida to New York and then drove west. The pair planned on stopping at several national parks along the way, according to WFSB. The cross-country journey was supposed to end in Portland, Oregon.

Petito documented the road trip on YouTube and Instagram, but posts stopped on Aug. 25.

Petito’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, told WABC that she last spoke to her daughter when she was in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. Schmidt said she communicated using text messages to Petito’s phone the following days, but said she was unsure she was talking to her daughter.

“The first couple of days, though I wasn’t getting responses, I believed she was in a place with no service. It was like day eight or nine when I really became concerned,” Schmidt told WLNY.

Schmidt reported her daughter missing two weeks later on Sept. 11.

Police in Utah told Fox News that an incident occurred involving the couple on Aug. 12, a few weeks before Petito disappeared. Police said the incident was reported by a third party.

“Our officers did respond to an incident involving Brian Laundrie and Gabrielle Petito on 12 August 2021 however, neither Brian or Gabrielle were the reporting party. Officers conducted an investigation and determined that insufficient evidence existed to justify criminal charges,” Moab Chief of Police Bret Edge told Fox News.

Laundrie has since returned to Florida with the van but without Petito, police told WTVT.

Police and Petito’s family told WLNY that Laundrie is refusing to talk to law enforcement and has hired an attorney.

Both Petito’s family and attorneys for Laundrie have released statements following the disappearance of the 22-year-old:

Laundrie has not been charged with a crime but has been named a person of interest according to WTSP.

The van has been seized as part of the investigation.

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