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22-Year-Old Woman Documenting Cross-Country Trip With Boyfriend On YouTube Goes Missing

“There’s nothing you can do. You can’t control anything," Gabrielle Petito's father said of the helpless feeling he's had since discovering his daughter had disappeared.

By Jill Sederstrom
Woman Disappears On Cross-Country Trip With Boyfriend

A New York woman who had been documenting a cross-country trip with her boyfriend on YouTube has disappeared.

Gabrielle Petito, 22, was reported missing on Saturday by her family after they became concerned they hadn’t heard from her since the last week of August, according to a statement from the Suffolk County Police Department obtained by Oxygen.com.

Petito’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, told Fox News the last time she verbally spoke to her daughter was on Aug. 25 when she and her boyfriend were in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

“I don’t know if she left Grand Teton or not,” Schmidt said. “I did receive a text from her on the 27th and the 30th, but I don’t know if it was technically her or not, because it was just a text.”

Petito and her boyfriend had been traveling across the country in a white 2012 Ford Transit van they had converted into a camper van.

Gabrielle Petito Pd

Police have said they recovered the van, but did not provide any additional details.

A spokesperson for the department told Oxygen.com they could not release any other information about the case, including whether Petito’s boyfriend had been located.

Just days before she disappeared, on August 19, Petito had posted an eight-minute long video on YouTube documenting the couple’s travels, titled “Beginning Our Van Life Journey.”

The video showed the pair doing cartwheels on the beach, sharing a plate of food, holding hands and kissing as they explored the country together.

About half-way through the video, Petito addresses the camera directly to describe a heavy rainfall they had experienced the day before, when she was forced to hold both sides of the tent up as the rain pounded down around her.

“I think our plan for today is to just hang out here in the tent,” she said the next morning, before stepping out of the tent and panning over to her boyfriend who is sitting on the ground, practicing morning yoga.

Later, she references being in Utah while fixing herself some yogurt as her boyfriend can be seen standing behind her next to the van.

Her father, Joe Petito, said the family is desperate to find Gabrielle and described the disappearance to Newsday like “drowning with your hands tied behind you.”

“You can’t describe it,” he said. “There’s nothing you can do. You can’t control anything.”

The family is asking others to remain vigilant in the search for her.

“I just want people to keep looking and not stop until we find her,” Schmidt told Newsday, declining to provide too many details in an effort not to compromise the investigation. “She’s out there somewhere. … We won’t stop until we find her.”  

Petito has been described as a white female, approximately 5 feet 5 inches tall and 110 pounds. She has blonde hair and blue eyes, along with several distinctive tattoos including one on her forearm that reads, “Let it be.”

Anyone with information about the disappearance is urged to contact the authorities.  

"The Murder of Gabby Petito: Truth, Lies and Social Media" will air on Oxygen on Monday, January 24 at 9/8c. It's also available to stream on Peacock now.