A 22-year-old Long Island woman has gone missing under mysterious circumstances during a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend — and her family is seeking the public’s help in finding her.
Gabby Petito was last known to be in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park in late August after embarking on the tour with her boyfriend — identified on social media as Brian Laundrie — the month before, Newsday reported.
Authorities said the vehicle the couple was traveling in, a white 2012 Ford Transit van with Florida plates, has been recovered, according to the outlet.
Laundrie, who has returned to his Florida home, has hired an attorney and has refused to cooperate with authorities, the Daily Mail reported, citing her family.
“Downsizing our life to fit into this itty bitty van was the best decision we’ve ever made,” Laundrie wrote on Instagram on a page called “bizarre_design.” “With the limited space we wanted to take advantage of every inch, while also keeping everything minimalist.”
On July 10, Petito wrote: “After going on our first road trip across the country in my tiny car, we felt like there was just so much we missed. Turning this Ford transit essentially into a camper was such an adventure in itself, but I couldn’t love the way it turned out more!
“All the places it’s brought us so far have been amazing! As soon as we got to the Great Sand Dunes I didn’t want to leave, there was so much to hike!” Petito added.
Petito’s mother, Blue Point resident Nicole Schmidt, reported her missing to Suffolk County police late Saturday.
“Gabrielle Petito was traveling in a white, 2012 Ford Transit van with Florida license plate QFTG03 with a companion when she stopped communicating with friends and family,” police said in a release.
The desperate mom told Newsday late Sunday that her daughter had FaceTimed her around Aug. 23 or 24 — and that although she received texts from her daughter’s phone until Aug. 30, she wasn’t sure she was the one who had sent them.
Petito’s father, Joe Petito, told Newsday that her disappearance is like “drowning with your hands tied behind you,” adding, “You can’t describe it. There’s nothing you can do. You can’t control anything.”
Joe moved from Long Island to Vero Beach, Florida, in June in part to be closer to his daughter, who had moved to the city of North Port in western Florida with her boyfriend about two years ago.
On June 17, Petito arrived in New York to attend her brother’s high school graduation and then left on her cross-country adventure, Schmidt said.
Last month, the couple arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah, but left amid heavy wildfire smoke, according to Fox News.
Petito was expected to visit a family friend in Portland, Oregon, around Halloween, Newsday said.
“I can’t say much, but she’s no longer with the van,” Schmidt told Fox News. “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.”
Joe described his daughter to Newsday as “very, very free-spirited. Clothes didn’t impress her. Cars didn’t impress her. Experiences — that’s what impressed her.”
On Aug. 25, a photo of Petito was posted on her apparent Instagram account, which links to a video on a YouTube channel featuring a woman identified as Petito and a man traveling in a converted van.
The clip, which was posted Aug. 13, shows scenes of the woman in various outdoor settings.
Petito was described by police and on a GoFundMe page as 5 feet 5, 110 pounds, blond with blue eyes.
“She has a triangle tattoo on left arm with flowers and a ‘Let it be’ tattoo written on her right arm. She has a Belly button piercing,” the post said.
“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,” it added.