The Search for Gabby, Part 1

Missing In Utah

WYOMING (ABC4) – Family of Gabby Petito, now in Wyoming, are hoping to find out what happened to their daughter who disappeared in late August and hasn’t been heard from since. She and her boyfriend traveled to several stops here in Utah, and now there are even more developments.

Police in Florida are calling on the boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, who has been named a person of interest. He has lawyered up and is not saying anything but the focus of the investigation is now in two states – Utah and Wyoming. 

“As a mom I had concerns,” her family tells ABC4’s Marco Ortiz. “My daughter going on a road trip in general, I felt safe. They were together, they had a plan, they had an itinerary.

The couple started in Florida, drove her van, eventually landing in Moab, but something happened on August 12 on Main Street in Moab. According to a Moab Police report, a possible fight had occurred with the male having been observed to assault the female.

Police tracked a van near Arches National Park and confirmed it. Laundrie told police both suffer from a mental illness caused by anxiety. Petito was crying uncontrollably and admitted her mental health led to many little fights.

Moab Police didn’t press charges, claiming it didn’t rise to the level of the domestic assault. Instead, the officer wrote it was more a case of a mental health crisis.

A website called ‘Profiling Evil’ tracked their movement in Utah based on the couple’s pictures posted on social media. After leaving Moab, according to social media pictures, Petito and Laundrie stopped at Zion National Park, Cedar Breaks, and Mystic Hot Springs before stopping in Salt Lake City.

“They were staying at a motel about by the airport, and at that point, Gabby had FaceTimed her mother,” Marki Davis, says. Davis operates a website called ‘We Help the Missing’ and is an investigator for Petito’s family.

Davis claims Laundrie flew back to Florida – possibly from Salt Lake City – on family business and left Petito behind. He then returned on August 25. Petito was next seen in Ogden in front of a mural next to a restaurant. That was the last time Petito publicized her whereabouts, even to her mother.

Days later, Davis says Petito’s mother got a strange text from Gabby, indicating they were headed to Grand Teton National Park.

“It just didn’t sound like Gabby,” Davis says. “In one, she mentioned her step-grandfather and called him by name rather than ‘grandpa.’ to trust their grandfather.

Davis and other search and rescue experts claim there is no evidence the couple even traveled to Wyoming but that’s where her parents are now at, according to a family spokesman.

Meanwhile, back in Florida, Laundrie refuses to talk to police and has hired an attorney. Police now call him a person of interest.

“It seems he is the last known person, that we have information, was around her,” Joshua Taylor with North Port Police in Florida said earlier this week. “You know, how you define a person of interest is up to you. But certainly, we’re interested in talking with him.”

“Why won’t he talk? I don’t care what the situation was, at this point I just want to know,” Nicole Schmidt, Petito’s mom, tells ABC4. “Did he drop her off somewhere, did they get into a fight, did he just leave her?”

According to the lawyer for Petito’s family, Grand Teton National Park is the only place they know that she may be and he says only Laundrie knows for sure. Right now, Laundrie is not talking.

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