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Family Asks Public For Help In Nationwide Search For Missing 22-Year-Old NY Woman

Gabrielle Petito
Gabrielle Petito Photo Credit: Suffolk County Police

The family of a missing a 22-year-old New York woman who went missing while traveling is asking the public for help locating her as a nationwide search is underway.

Long Island resident Gabrielle Petito, of Blue Point in Suffolk County, was traveling in a white, 2012 Ford Transit van with her boyfriend when she stopped communicating with friends and family, police said.

Petito was reported missing to the Suffolk County Police Department by her mother, Nichole Schmidt, on Saturday, Sept. 11 just before 7 p.m.

Since being reported missing, police have located the van at the home of her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, in North Port, south of Tampa, in Florida, police said.

Laundrie, who has an attorney, has said little to the police and federal agents searching for Petito who was last known to be in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming in late August.

During a news conference in Suffolk County on Monday, Sept. 13, Schmidt said: "She's not in touch with us, and she could be alone somewhere, stranded somewhere in the wilderness, and she needs help."

"We currently have no definitive information that a crime took place here in North Port," North Port police said in a statement. "With that said, the circumstances are odd. The vehicle she was traveling in was located here in North Port. So, we are actively gathering local details and any evidence to assist in finding needed answers."

Suffolk County police are the lead agency on the case, working with North Port, and the FBI.

Schmidt said the two had known each other since high school and began dating about two years ago. Petito moved to Florida a little over two years ago to live with him.

Petito, who is 5-foot-5, and 110 pounds, has several tattoos, including one on her forearm that reads "let it be," police said. 

She documented their journey on social media, but those posts slowed down toward the end of August.

Schmidt said the couple left Salt Lake City for Grand Teton National Park around Tuesday, Aug. 24, which was when she said she last spoke to her daughter on a FaceTime call. 

She added she received texts sent from her daughter's phone until Monday, Aug. 30 but wasn't sure who sent them.

The last Instagram photo by Petito was posted on Wednesday, Aug. 25. She also posted a video on YouTube of the two traveling. 

Police are asking anyone with information about her whereabouts to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.

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