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Parents Of Missing Long Island Woman Gabby Petito Issue Tearful Plea For 22-Year-Old's Safe Return Home

BOHEMIA, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The parents of a missing woman originally from Long Island need help finding her. She was on a cross country trip when all communication suddenly stopped.

On Monday, CBS2's Jenna DeAngelis heard a plea from her family speaking from their lawyer's office in Bohemia.

Gabby Petito's emotional mother, who was holding on to a photo of her daughter, is desperate for her to come home.

"It's scary and it's nerve wracking. We don't sleep. We're just actively looking for her," Nichole Schmidt said.

Petito's family reported her missing Saturday to Suffolk County police. The 22-year-old from Blue Point was on a cross country road trip, but she kept in touch with her mom.

"At least three times a week we would FaceTime, call, text frequently. She kept me updated on this whole trip," Schmidt said.

Missing person Gabby Petito
Gabby Petito (Photo: Instagram/GabsPetito)

Schmidt said they last FaceTimed about three weeks ago, adding the last text she received was on Aug. 30.

"The first couple of days when I wasn't getting responses, I believed she was in a place with no service. It was like day eight and nine that I really became concerned," Schmidt said.

Police say Petito is believed to have last been in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park. Video of the trip was uploaded to YouTube on Aug. 19.

Her mother said she left New York in early July for the trip, which was set to end in Oregon next month. She was traveling in a white van which police say has been recovered in Florida, where she has lived with her boyfriend for the last two years.

"As a mom, I had concerns for my daughter going on a road trip in general, but I felt safe. They were together, they had a plan, they had an itinerary, and we were excited for them," Petito's mother said.

The police department near where Petito lives Florida said they know where the boyfriend is and they are in contact with him. Petito's family said they wouldn't comment further on him. All they want, is to find her.

"I just believe she's in danger because she's not in touch with us and she could be alone somewhere, she could be stranded somewhere in the wilderness and needs help," Schmidt said. "I believe a mother's instinct is the most powerful."

"My only daughter is missing. You don't know what it's like until it's your child. We love her. We want her home. Please help," father James Petito said. "Gabby, we just want you to come home. Call us. Let us know you're OK. Just come home, please."

"We miss you," her mother added.

Petito is about 5-foot-5 and 110 pounds with blonde hair and blue eyes. She has several tattoos, including one on her forearm that reads "Let it be."

A GoFundMe page has been created to aid in the search for Petito.

Detectives are asking anyone with information on Petito's disappearance to contact CrimeStoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS. All calls can remain anonymous.

Editor's note: This story first appeared on Sept. 13, 2021.

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