The mother of a missing New York woman, who had documented her travels on a road trip across the country, asked for advice on Monday that could help locate her daughter.
âShe might be alone somewhere. She could be stranded somewhere in the wild and she needs help, âNichole Schmidt said of her daughter, Gabrielle Petito, 22. âI hope everyone is looking for her.
Petito, 22, was last known in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming in late August when she stopped communicating with her family, police said. She was reported missing on Saturday.
Petito was traveling in a van with his fiance, Brian Laundrie, and documented their travels on YouTube under the nickname Nomadic Statik.
The vehicle, a white 2012 Ford Transit van with a Florida license plate, was recovered in the city of North Port, south of Tampa, Florida, the city police department said.
“We currently have no definitive information that a crime has taken place here in North Port,” police said in a statement. “That said, the circumstances are strange. The vehicle she was traveling in was located here in North Port. So we are actively gathering local details and all the evidence to help find the necessary answers.”
Police have not identified Laundrie as a suspect, nor have they linked him to Petito’s disappearance. Suffolk County Police did not immediately respond to questions Monday about Laundrie’s fate, and he did not respond to a request for comment.
Schmidt said the couple met in high school and started dating a few years ago. Petito then moved to Florida to live with him, she said.
Schmidt said she had “general” concerns about her daughter taking a road trip, but she felt safe about the trip Petito and Launderie were planning.
âThey were together. They had a plan. They had an itinerary,â she said. “We were excited for them.”
Petito is described as being 5 feet 5 inches tall and weighing 110 pounds. She has blonde hair and blue eyes. She also has several tattoos, including one on the forearm that says “let it be”.
Schmidt told NBC affiliate KSL that the couple left Blue Point, New York, on July 2.
âShe wanted to cross the country in a motorhome and live the life of a van and live free. It was his dream, âsaid Schmidt.
Petito has widely documented his cross-state trip with Laundrie on social media, but those posts slowed down towards the end of August.
Schmidt said the couple left Salt Lake City for Grand Teton National Park around August 24, when she said she last spoke to her daughter on a FaceTime call. She added that she had received text messages sent from her daughter’s phone until August 30, but was not sure if her daughter had sent them.
She posted a final photo on her Instagram account on August 25. In the video, Petito and Laundrie can be seen driving, hiking and camping on various roads, parks and beaches across the country.
Police are asking anyone with information about his whereabouts to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.
Matteo moschella and Mohammed syed contributed.