“Van-lifer” Gabrielle Petito was supposed to meet a friend in Yellowstone on Aug. 30, but the 22-year-old missed the rendezvous and never called, the friend tells The Sun. On the friend’s birthday, Aug. 29, Petito failed to phone and make concrete plans. The friend said, “She was supposed to call on my birthday and we were going to figure it all out then because her trip wasn’t on schedule. The whole thing is odd. My birthday is the 29th. I don’t know why she’d send that text [to her mom] and not message me.” On Aug. 30, Petito’s mother received a text from Petito’s number about not having cell service in Yosemite, 800 miles away.
“She wouldn’t wander off and not contact her family. I know that for a fact. She wouldn’t blow me off either. She’s my person. And I can’t stop thinking about how scared she must be,” the friend said. Petito’s mother reported the 22-year-old missing in Grand Teton National Park earlier this month. Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, were in the middle of a cross-country trek, documenting their “van life” in cheery social media posts starting in early July. Laundrie, who returned home alone to Florida on Sept. 1 with their van, has hired a lawyer and refused to cooperate in the investigation into Petito’s whereabouts. Police bodycam footage released Thursday showed the tense moments after an Aug. 12 confrontation between the couple in Moab, Utah.