Gabby Petito’s stepdad has flown to Wyoming to search for the missing young woman

Gabby Petito
Gabby Petito in an undated photo Courtesy of Schmidt and Petito family
  • Gabby Petito’s stepfather and a close family friend went out to Wyoming in search of the missing woman.
  • Petito’s last known location is believed to be in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.
  • “They’re trying to stay as close as they can to the Grand Teton National Park,” the family’s lawyer told Insider.
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Gabby Petito’s stepfather and a close family friend have gone out to Wyoming to search for the young woman who went missing on a cross-country road trip, a lawyer for the family told Insider Wednesday.

Petito’s stepdad, James Schmidt, along with the family friend, left from New York to Wyoming’s Jackson Hole valley on Tuesday as Petito’s last known location is believed to be in the state’s Grand Teton National Park.

“It’s the town immediately south of the Grand Teton National Park where Gabby was last known to be seen,” Schmidt and Petito family lawyer Richard Stafford said.

Stafford explained, “They’re trying to stay as close as they can to the Grand Teton National Park. That’s the closest place I think they can find, so that they can spend as much time as possible looking for Gabby.”

Petito, 22, and her boyfriend Brian Laundrie set out from New York on July 2 in a white converted camper van, documenting their travels on social media along the way.

Her mother, Nicole Schmidt, reported her missing on September 11 to New York’s Suffolk County Police Department after Laundrie returned home to Florida in the van they were traveling in without Petito.

“It’s been very rough” on the family, including Petito’s younger school-age siblings, Stafford said. “It’s been very, very tough on them.”

Petito’s family publicly called out Laundrie on Tuesday – in a statement released through Stafford – for refusing to help them find her, begging him to “at least tell us if we are looking in the right area.”

“Brian is refusing to tell Gabby’s family where he last saw her. Brian is also refusing to explain why he left Gabby all alone and drove her van to Florida,” the statement read. “These are critical questions that require immediate answers.”

Laundrie’s attorney, Steven Bertolino, also released a statement on Tuesday.

“This is understandably an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family,” the statement said. “On the advice of counsel, the Laundrie family is remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment.”

Stafford would not comment on whether the family believes Laundrie played a role in Petito’s mysterious disappearance.

“We’re not going to talk about what the family may think or not think,” Stafford told Insider. “Right now, the family is 100% just focused on finding Gabby.”