As police have gained access to a hard drive found in a van belonging to 22-year-old Gabby Petito, more details have emerged about the last messages sent to her mother from Gabby’s phone.
A Florida court granted investigators permission to access the hard drive, which was recovered during a search on September 14. The search warrant filing also included details of the last text message sent from Gabby’s phone to her mother, which read, “Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls.”
Gabby’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, said that “Stan” was meant to refer to Gabby’s grandfather, but because he rarely goes by that name, she found the text “odd”, and it made her concerned that something was wrong with her daughter. Gabby’s phone was turned off later that day, on August 27th, and that message was the last contact any of her loved ones had with Gabby, except for a text sent from Gabby’s phone on August 30th that said, “No cell service in Yosemite”, that Schmidt does not believe was sent by Gabby herself.
The search warrant was granted based upon new information that suggested Gabby was “unable to care for herself due to her increased anxiety”, including footage of police stopping Gabby and her fiance, Brian Laundrie, on a Utah highway after they received a 911 call about the couple.
A body believed to be Gabby’s was found near a campsite in Wyoming on Sunday, and the police are treating Laundrie as a person of interest in the case. Laundrie returned to his family home in Florida on September 1 without Gabby, but disappeared 3 days ago, telling his family he was planning on hiking in a nearby reserve. The FBI has searched his family home, and agents were photographed removing evidence from the suburban home on Monday.
Gabby and Laundrie left New York state in mid-June for a vacation in Utah, visiting a number of national parks along the way. They documented parts of their trip in a YouTube video titled, ‘VAN LIFE | Beginning Our Van Life Journey’. Gabby’s Instagram shows her in beautiful locales across Colorado and Utah.
Gabby’s Instagram posts have sparked much discussion online, primarily on the topic of her hair. Gabby’s last post, made a week ago and captioned, ‘Happy Halloween’, seems at odds with the rest of her content, depicting her in national parks compared to the relatively urban environment in front of some street art. People also pointed out that her hair looks freshly dyed in the Halloween post, whereas you can see her darker roots starting to show in the photos taken in the national parks. This discrepancy has led people to suggest that Gabby herself didn’t make her last Instagram post, a suggestion which corresponds with her mother’s own.
This article first appeared on Over60.