'Doing everything we can to bring her home to us': Blue Point native reported missing on West Coast trip
Loved ones are issuing a desperate plea for help in finding a Blue Point native who went missing while traveling on a cross country trip.
Gabrielle Petito posted on her Instagram account that she was traveling the world in her van. She was last seen in Wyoming and her family believes that is where she still is.
Her last post was from Aug. 25 and her family says they last communicated with her on Aug. 30.
"She was trying to get her blog together, create a website to show the van life," says Gabby's dad Joseph Petito. "She loved that type of thing."
They say she had been on a trip traveling to national parks, and it was common to not hear from her every single day because a lot of the places she was traveling to didn’t have cell phone coverage. But they never went this long without talking with her.
"I believed the first couple days I wasn't getting responses I believe she was in a place with no service. It was like day eight or nine that I really became concerned. I figured she couldn't be off the grid for that long," says Gabby's mom Nichole Schmidt. "I just believe she's in danger because she's not in touch with us. She could be alone somewhere. She could be stranded somewhere in the wilderness."
The family filed a missing person’s report with Suffolk County police on Saturday and set up a Facebook page to help find her.
Petito’s stepfather, Jim Schmidt, says that this is a parent’s “absolute worst nightmare.”
“You never think it’s going to be your family,” Schmidt says. “But unfortunately, it is, and we are doing everything we can to bring her home to us.”
Petito is 22 and is described as 5 feet 5 inches, 110 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. She also has several tattoos, including the words, “let it be” on one of her forearms.
She was traveling in a 2012 Ford Transit van with a Florida license plate.
Police in North Port, Florida call the circumstances "odd" and say the van the couple was traveling in has been found.
Petito grew up in Blue Point but had been living in Florida with her boyfriend, who grew up in Bayport, for two years.
Neither police nor Petito’s family would comment on her boyfriend.
The National Park Service is involved, and the North Port Police Department in Florida is investigating.
People on social media say they had seen Petito at different national parks during the summer and are cooperating with detectives.
Police are asking anyone with information on her whereabouts to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls are kept confidential.
A GoFundMe page is raising money to aid in the search efforts.