Who is Gabby Petito, the woman who mysteriously disappeared?

Petito, 22, has documented her country-wide travels on Instagram, TikTok for the last 2 years

This police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Gabrielle Gabby Petito talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van she was traveling in with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, near the entrance to Arches National Park on Aug. 12, 2021. The couple was pulled over while they were having an emotional fight. Petito was reported missing by her family a month later and is now the subject of a nationwide search. (The Moab Police Department via AP) (Uncredited)

You’ve probably heard the name Gabby Petito in recent days.

The 22-year-old blogger has documented her country-wide travels on Instagram and TikTok for the last two years.

What happened?

However, on a recent cross-country journey with her significant other Brian Laundrie, Petito disappeared.

Recent reports revealed that about a month before her parents filed a missing persons report, Petito and Laundrie, who live in Florida, were pulled over by the Moab Police Department in Utah near the entrance to Arches National Park.

Police video shows the couple getting into a minor scuffle that began when Laundrie climbed into the van with dirty feet.

The body camera video shows Petito visibly upset when an officer approached them.

This police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Gabrielle Gabby Petito talking to a police officer after police pulled over the van she was traveling in with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, near the entrance to Arches National Park on Aug. 12, 2021. The couple was pulled over while they were having an emotional fight. Petito was reported missing by her family a month later and is now the subject of a nationwide search. (The Moab Police Department via AP)

“We’ve just been fighting this morning. Some personal issues,” Petito says, adding that she suffers from obsessive-compulsive disorder that affects her behavior.

Police determined Petito was the aggressor, but Laundrie called it a squabble, and ultimately said he did not want to press charges.

After her last known contact with family in late August, Petito vanished from the area of the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, authorities said.

Laundrie returned to the couple’s home on Sept. 1 alone.

Who is Petito?

Petito is originally from Blue Point, New York, according to her private Facebook page and published reports, and attended Bayport-Blue Point High School.

Petito and Laundrie were childhood sweethearts on Long Island before moving from Blue Point in 2019 to live with his parents in North Port, about 34 miles south of Sarasota, Florida.

Her Instagram account officially revealed that the two were an item in 2019.

The couple’s first cross-country trip was in a Nissan Sentra, but when that journey was done, they decided to downsize their lives and travel full time. That’s when they made the decision that a van would be perfect for their #VanLife, which she’s known to use as a tag on social media.

“We handcrafted our own tiny van, a simple 2012 Ford Transit Connect, utilizing space with unique designs and features,” Petito wrote as a caption for a YouTube video the couple posted. “Creating a space for both artistic expression and distance hiking. Thank you so much for watching, and we hope you tag along on our journey wherever the van takes us!”

Her Instagram account shows her traveling in 2019 to Big Sur, California, Yosemite Falls, Pikes Peak, Colorado and Carolina Beach, North Carolina, to name a few destinations.

In July 2020, Petito shared on Instagram that Laundrie had proposed. However, Inside is reporting that Petito’s mother said the two called off the engagement.

The couple began their #VanLife in 2021.

While more public details about Petito are scarce, her family has been open about their desperation to locate their daughter.

Last contact

Gabby Petito’s parents told KSL-TV that the couple left Salt Lake City on Aug. 24, headed toward Grand Teton National Park, where they believe the couple spent no more than two days.

Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, said that was the last time she spoke to her daughter over FaceTime.

“She seemed OK to me at the time, other than I don’t know where the relationship was going with the boyfriend,” Schmidt said of the couple possibly going through a rough patch.

Petito’s last post on Instagram was Aug. 25.

Now

North Port Police said at a news conference Thursday that the investigation remains a missing persons case, not a murder probe, and that no intensive searches have begun because it’s unclear exactly where authorities might look.

“We’re still trying to nail down geographic areas,” Chief Todd Garrison said. “There’s a lot of information we are going through. Our focus is to find Gabby.”

Tara Petito (2L) and Joe Petito look on while the City of North Port Chief of Police Todd Garrison (not seen) speaks during a news conference for their missing daughter, Gabby Petito, on Sept. 16, 2021 in North Port, Florida. Gabby Petito disappeared while on a cross country trip with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie and has not been seen or heard from since late August. Police said no criminality is suspected at this time but her fiance, Brian Laundrie, has refused to speak with law enforcement. Laundrie has be identified as a person of interest but investigators are solely focused on finding Petito. (2021 Getty Images)

The missing woman’s father, Joe Petito, also appeared at the news conference to urge anyone with knowledge about his daughter to come forward.

“What I want from everybody here is help. Whatever you can do to make sure my daughter comes home. I’m asking you to help. Nothing else matters right now,” Joe Petito said.

Gabby Petito is 5 feet 5 inches tall and about 110 pounds, with blonde hair and blue eyes, police said. She has several tattoos, including one on a forearm that reads, “let it be.”


The Associated Press contributed to this report.


About the Author:

Dawn is a Digital Content Editor who has been with Graham Media Group since April 2013. She graduated from Texas State University with a degree in electronic media.