Gabby Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, says she received an alarming text that has been sent from her daughter’s phone number during what are believed to be the final days of the 22-year-old’s life.
According to a warrant obtained by police in Florida, the cryptic message – which is described as the ‘last communication’ anyone had with Petito – asked about her grandfather.
‘On August 27th, 2021, the subject’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, received an “odd text” from the subject. The text message read, “Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls,”’ the warrant reads.
‘The reference to “Stan” was referring to Gabby’s grandfather. But according to her mother, Gabby never calls him “Stan”. The mother was concerned that something was wrong with her daughter.’
After receiving the text, Petito’s phone was ‘no longer operational’ and she ‘stopped posting anything on social media about their trip’.
Her family says this was ‘not normal behavior’ for Petito, which made them more worried about her.
Gabby Petito’s mother Nichole Schmidt (pictured together left) says she received a text message from her daughter on Aug. 27 about her grandfather, Stan, that was ‘not normal behavior’ for the 22-year-old and prompted concern
‘On August 27th, 2021, the subject’s mother, Nichole Schmidt (pictured), received an “odd text” from the subject. The text message read, “Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls,”’ a warrant obtained by Florida police reads
Forensic experts have been poring over Petito’s computer hard drive for crucial clues after police in North Port, Florida, got a court warrant to search the device.
The computer was with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie when he returned to Florida without Petito on September 1.
A body believed to be Petito’s was found in near a campsite in Wyoming on Sunday, and Laundrie – who returned to his parents’ Florida home on September 1 – has vanished, and been declared missing.
Part of the application for the document revealed the last text message Petito sent to her mother Nichole Schmidt that set off alarm bells when it was received.
It added this was the ‘last communication anyone has with the subject. Her cell phone was no longer operational, and she stopped posting anything on social media about their trip. Per her family, this was not normal behavior for the subject and they became more worried about her.’
Gabby Petito, 22, is pictured with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, 23, in a YouTube video made to document their ‘van life’ road trip. Petito’s body was found on Sunday and Laundrie has disappeared
While this text was not a typical message for Petito, investigators do believe she sent the Aug. 27 text.
However, they do believe the text sent from her phone on Aug. 30 was not actually written by Petito.
Schmidt acknowledged receiving another text from her daughter’s phone – previously believed to be Petito’s final message – on Aug. 30 reading: ‘No service in Yosemite.’
She is convinced her daughter didn’t sent that final message and that she believes Petito’s boyfriend may have sent the message from her phone, possibly to mislead her family and investigators as to her whereabouts.
The pair had been travelling on a cross-country trip together since July 2, when they left New York. Petito was reported missing on September 11
Part of the application for the document reveals a cryptic last text message Petito sent to her mother Nichole Schmidt that set off alarm bells when it was received.
Petito’s computer was in her white Ford Transit van that was taken away by police very late September 11 – some 10 days after boyfriend Brian Laundrie had already returned to Florida without her.
The vehicle was taken by North Port Police around five hours after Schmidt- who lives on Long Island, New York – reported her daughter missing. A warrant to search the vehicle was issued on September 14.
The computer warrant application explains that Petito and Laundrie ‘left from New York state sometime in mid-June 2021 for a vacation in Utah, traveling a variety of National Parks along the way. While they were on their trip, they documented some of the events on a YouTube video, “VAN LIFE: Beginning Our Van Life Journey”.
It added: ‘During the trip the subject sent multiple text messages and had many talks with her mother Nichole Schmidt … during these conversations there appeared to be more and more tension between her and Laundrie.’
The document says the hard drive is a black Western Digital and is in the property/evidence vault and North Port Police Department.
In the warrant, police were given authority to search ‘any and all external storage device(s), commercial software and hardware, computer disks, disk drives, tape drives, disk application programs, data disks, system disk operating systems, electronic mail, system storage devices, tape systems and hard drive and other computer-related operation equipment, in addition to computer photographs, graphic interchange formats and/or photographs, or other visual depictions.’
Additionally, WFLA reported that the warrant gives police access to a wide range of content potentially found on the hard drive, and digital documents, notes, passwords, encryptions or data security devices which might keep them from accessing the contents.
Laundrie and Petito set off on their dream road trip from New York on July 2
Part of the warrant application reads that ‘Detective/Officer Daniel Aliz #398, a duly sworn law enforcement officer of the North Port Police Department.. deposes and says that he/she has probable cause to believe and does believe that the laws of the State of Florida have been violated.
‘The laws related to the missing/endangered person(s) controlled by Florida State Statute 937.021 in regard to w/f Gabrielle Venora Petito.
‘That the officer has reason to believe that evidence connected with the investigation is currently contained within the computer(s) external storage device(s) described below.’
The white van, which belonged to Petito and not Laundrie, was tracked as going through a license plate reader at the Sumpter Boulevard exit of Interstate 75 towards North Port on September 1 at roughly 10.26am, reveals the application.
The warrant, issued by the office of the Sarasota County Clerk of the Circuit Court, was executed on Thursday, September 16 – two days after Laundrie vanished from his parent’s home saying he was heading to the 25,000 acre Carlton Reserve, a swampy reserve infested with alligators.
Nicole Schmidt and her husband James are pictured during a September 14 press conference appealing for information about Petito’s whereabouts
Laundrie and Petito are seen in a photo dated July 29. The pair met at high school on Long Island, New York, and begun dating several years ago
Petito and Laundrie in one of their photos from Instagram, to promote their blog about the trip
FBI agents stormed Laundrie’s family’s home on Monday and removed his parents from the house while declaring the area a crime scene moments after authorities called off a search of a nearby nature reserve, saying they have ‘exhausted all avenues.’
The FBI tweeted on Monday that it ‘is executing a court-authorized search warrant today at the Laundrie residence in North Port, FL relevant to the Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Petito investigation.’
‘No further details can be provided since this is an active and ongoing investigation,’ the FBI added.
Steven Berolino, an attorney for the family, told ABC 7 that the family went looking for Laundrie on Wednesday. They found his Ford Mustang, which had a police note on it demanding that the vehicle be removed from the area.
The family initially left the car there so that Laundrie could drive it back, but they returned on Thursday to retrieve it, according to Bertolino.
The next day, the family filed a missing persons report for him.
DailyMail.com was on the scene Monday as FBI agents led Chris and Roberta Laundrie, Brian Laundrie’s parents, out of the home and into a police van. They were allowed back into the residence about an hour later.
The dramatic developments came a day after investigators found the body of a person believed to be his fiance, missing van-lifer Petito, in Wyoming.
A forensic pathologist from Sheridan, Wyoming will travel 360 miles east to Teton County Coroner’s Office to perform the autopsy.
FBI agents are seen searching the family home of Brian Laundrie on September 20
An FBI agent is pictured at the North Port home of Laundrie’s parents on September 20
On Monday, chilling 911 audio revealed how a caller in Utah reported a domestic abuse incident involving Petito and Laundrie. The caller claimed Laundrie was seen slapping her on August 12.
In the audio, obtained by DailyMail.com, the male caller tells a Grant County sheriff that a ‘gentleman’ in a white van with a Florida license plate had slapped a girl in the vehicle before driving away.
The man also mentions the incident had happened ‘by Moonflower’ – likely referring to the Moonflower Community Cooperative in Moab, where Laundrie and Petito stayed the night of August 11 and where they reportedly were seen having an explosive fight.
‘I’m right in the corner of Main Street by Moonflower and we are driving and I’d like to report a domestic dispute. Florida with a white van – Florida license plate, white van,’ the man says before being interrupted by the officer, who asks him what he saw exactly.
‘They just drove off. They’re going towards Main Street. They made a right onto Main Street from Moonflower. We drove by him, a gentleman was slapping the girl,’ the man continues.
‘He was slapping her?’ the sheriff asks.
‘Yes. And then we stopped. They ran down an up the sidewalk. He proceeded to hit her, hopped in the car and they drove off,’ the man says as the audio ends.
Laundrie is seen with scratches on his face which he tells an officer were caused when Petito ‘was trying to get the keys from me’ and ‘hit me with her phone’
A tearful Petito is seen in the back of the police car in Utah, 13 days before she was last seen. Laundrie admits he ‘pushed her’ during the altercation and cops determine Petito was ‘the primary aggressor’
Shortly after the call, Petito and Laundrie were filmed in police bodycam footage when they were stopped by Moab Police. In the video, an emotional Petito with tears streaming down her face tells officers she ‘was trying to get him [Laundrie] to stop telling [her] to calm down’ and admitting the couple had ‘been fighting all morning.’
In the bodycam footage from Moab officers, Petito says she suffers from OCD and anxiety, with both her and Laundrie saying she was stressed because of the YouTube blog they were working on to document the doomed cross-country trip.
Laundrie is seen with scratches on his face and arm which he tells an officer were caused when Petito ‘was trying to get the keys from me’ and ‘hit me with her phone’.
He later said she was angry with him because of his dirty feet.
When an officer asks Petito if her boyfriend hit her, she replies ‘I guess’ and makes a grabbing motion on her chin.
Laundrie admits he ‘pushed her’ during the altercation.
The cops determine Petito was ‘the primary aggressor’ and say they are separating the couple for the night.
The couple had been traveling around the country in their camper van since early July and were visiting Moab, Utah when they got into an altercation, an incident report reveals.
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