Gabby Petito's Mom: The Last Text She Sent Me Was Odd

And more on the 22-year-old's disappearance
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 16, 2021 12:28 AM CDT
Mom Suspicious of Final Text She Got From Gabby Petito
This undated photo provided by the North Port, Fla., Police Department shows Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito. Petito, 22, vanished while on a cross-country trip in a converted camper van with her boyfriend.   (Courtesy of North Port Police Department via AP)

"No service in Yosemite." So read the final text Gabby Petito's mom, Nichole Schmidt, received from her daughter's cellphone. Two days later, Petito's fiance, Brian Laundrie, returned home to Florida in Petito's van, which the two had been living out of since July for a cross-country trip—but without Petito, 22. Schmidt says she doesn't believe Petito sent the August 30 text, the New York Post reports: "The van was in Florida on the 1st [of September]," she says. "I think I can do the math." California's Yosemite National Park is nearly 3,000 miles from North Port, Fla.

Police had interacted with Petito and Laundrie on August 12, after a bystander called 911 to report them arguing, and Laundrie, 23, who is not communicating with the family or cooperating with authorities, is now a person of interest in her disappearance. Petito was last seen leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah, with Laundrie on August 24, and she contacted her family by phone the following day. That day, August 25, was her last known location as well: Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, Fox News reports. From there, the couple was believed to have been heading to Yellowstone. The Mirror notes that this also makes the final text seem strange: Yosemite is 800 miles from Petito's last known location, where she is thought to have gone missing.

More details have come out on the August 12 interaction, though Schmidt has reportedly said she doesn't think it's significant to the investigation: The witness said the couple appeared to be fighting over a cellphone, and, per the police report, "The male tried to create distance by telling Gabbie [sic] to go take a walk to calm down, she didn’t want to be separated from the male, and began slapping him. He grabbed her face and pushed her back as she pressed upon him and the van, he tried to lock her out and succeeded except for his driver’s door, she opened that and forced her way over him and into the vehicle before it drove off."

story continues below

But Petito's mom has said, "Put yourself with another person in a van 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for months, and you might have an argument, right? It’s irrelevant. It’s not a big deal." No charges were filed, and police say Laundrie slept in a hotel that night while Petito slept in the van. For more on the case, see:

  • An analysis of the couple's shared Spotify playlist here
  • Petito's Instagram here
  • Laundrie's Instagram here
  • The couple's website here and YouTube here
  • A GoFundMe for Petito's family here
(More Gabby Petito stories.)

Get the news faster.
Tap to install our app.
Install the Newser News app
in two easy steps:
1. Tap in your navigation bar.
2. Tap to Add to Home Screen.