Tuesday, October 26, 2021

Texas couple missing for days after going to desert for respite from the heat

West Texas law enforcement have reportedly released dash cam footage from the Fort De Soto Campground, where one of two young woman – Gabby Petito and her boyfriend – vanished over the weekend.

According to The Dallas Morning News, locals near the campground discovered that Petito’s parents had turned in their car the day after she went missing. Apparently, they were headed to a nearby city before ultimately returning to the park on Monday. The video obtained by the paper shows that they took some time out of their visit to unload their vehicles before heading to their homes in Alice and Granbury, respectively.

Petito, 18, and her boyfriend Michael “Sissy” Joseph, 21, were last seen entering a car park and disappearing on Saturday. Her blue Hyundai Tucson was found abandoned at a rest stop not too far from the park on Saturday, prompting searches for the missing pair.

As temperatures in that part of West Texas soared to highs of 109 degrees Fahrenheit in the last week, many speculated that Petito may have perished during the heat. Joseph posted on his Facebook page on Tuesday that he checked with family and friends that they had seen Petito. He did not elaborate.

Authorities with the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, who released the footage from the parking lot at the park on Tuesday, declined to confirm whether the parents of the missing woman made any statements to authorities.

A motive for the couple’s disappearance remains unclear.

Petito is an accomplished equestrian who makes a living as a professional rodeo competitor. After she met Joseph in 2015, they started dating and, according to a GoFundMe account, she was determined to support their joint horse business. “She always sought opportunities to build friendships and learn more about others,” the account states. “She has a wild, open-spirited spirit that has made many people drawn to her.”

Petito had taken over control of Joseph’s cellphone and car from her boyfriend’s mother and grandmother. According to WFAA, Joseph’s sister posted on Facebook, “I don’t know what’s going on but I want to know my brother is OK.”

In a separate post, an acquaintance of Petito’s family wrote: “If this is true, this is just inconceivable. This is the most heartbreaking piece of news I have ever heard.”

(h/t The Dallas Morning News)

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