The boyfriend of a missing woman, 22, who seemingly vanished last month during the couple’s cross-country van trip has broken his silence.
Gabby Petito, from Florida, was travelling the US in a converted 2012 Ford camper van with her partner of more than two years, Brian Laundrie, when she disappeared in late August.
She was last seen on August 24 checking out of a hotel with Mr Laundrie in Salt Lake City, Utah, her family told ABC News.
Ms Petito’s mother Nicole Schmidt said she last spoke to her daughter the same day and the 22-year-old had told her the couple were heading to Grand Teton, Wyoming, and the Yellowstone National Park.
"She sounded good and excited to continue her trip and excited to start her YouTube channel," Ms Schmidt told the publication.
"She seemed OK."
Ms Petito and Mr Laundrie had started a YouTube channel to showcase their summer road trip called "Nomadic Statik".
The 22-year-old’s last Instagram post was the following day, however she has not been heard from since. Ms Petito’s family reported her missing on Saturday (local time).
Mr Laundrie has returned to the couple’s home in North Port, Florida, with the van but without his girlfriend.
North Port police told the New York Post they tried to speak to Mr Laundrie but were blocked from doing so by his parents.
"We talked with his parents, who did not make him available," North Port police spokesman told the publication.
Boyfriend's family releases statement
On Tuesday, Mr Laundrie’s family instead released a statement to ABC News through their attorney.
"This is understandably an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family," the statement said.
"It is our understanding that a search has been organised for Miss Petito 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.
“On the advice of counsel, the Laundrie family is remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment."
Police say 'circumstances are odd'
The couple’s van has been seized by police and will be processed by the FBI, police said.
A search for the 22-year-old is underway and her father, Joe Petito, told the New York Post the FBI is combing through “a lot of data”.
North Port police said on Facebook they are assisting the Suffolk County Police Department in New York, where Ms Petito’s lives and reported her missing, with the investigation.
“We currently have no definitive information that a crime took place here in North Port. With that said, the circumstances are odd,” police said.
“The vehicle she was traveling in was located here in North Port. So, we are actively gathering local details and any evidence to assist in finding needed answers."
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