3:26 PM PDT, September 14, 2021
The search for missing Gabby Petito is gripping the nation today. The 22-year-old disappeared on a cross-country adventure with her boyfriend.
An army of citizen sleuths are poring over online comments Gabby supposedly made before she disappeared, and they’re raising questions about whether Petito wrote them at all.
“Something very off with the last 4 or 5 posts…they are very long and seem to ramble,” one sleuth wrote.
Inside Edition asked Petito’s mom, Nichole Schmidt, who she believes wrote texts she received from Petito’s phone. Was it Petito, or was it really her fiancé, Brian Laundrie?
“I don’t want to comment on that,” Schmidt said.
Petito and Laundrie set out on their cross-country journey on July 2 from Petito’s family home on Long Island. But when Laundrie returned to his home in North Port, Florida, Petito was not with him.
“Obviously some of the circumstances are odd,” Josh Taylor, public information officer of the North Port Police Department, told Inside Edition. “Any time you have someone missing, someone who’s in pretty good constant contact with their family — they stop having that contact, their vehicle shows up a thousand or more miles away back here at home, and they’re nowhere to be found, I think most people would find that very odd.”
On Saturday night, police towed the camper from Laundrie’s parents’ home searching for evidence.
From her video journal, Petito seemed to be enjoying her life on the road in the camper she had fixed up.
“They converted the van together, which was awesome. It was an awesome van,” Schmidt said.
“It’s an important part of this investigation,” Taylor said.
Taylor said police made contact with the Laundrie family when they towed the camper van. “We were informed by the [Laundrie] family to speak with their attorney. We were provided a name and phone number and we’ve done that,” Taylor added.
Laundrie’s family lawyer Steven P. Bertolino tells Inside Edition, “This is understandably an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family. It is our understanding that a search has been organized in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. On behalf of the Laundrie family, it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is re-united with her family.”
Petito’s father, Joseph, had an angry reaction.
“That statement was just a really, really cold, bad statement,” he said.