Who is ‘Stan’? Gabby Petito's cryptic final text to mom before disappearance revealed

Nicole Schmidt received an odd text on August 27, believed to be the last communication from Petito before her death that got family worried

                            Who is ‘Stan’? Gabby Petito's cryptic final text to mom before disappearance revealed
Gabby Petito seen smiling in a last Instagram post before mysterious disappearance (Instagram/ @gabspetito)

As the case of Gabby Petito continues to grip the nation, more details are being made available to the public as the FBI's investigation continues. The latest update on September 20 was what is believed to be Petito's final text before her death. On August 27, she sent her mother, Nichole Schmidt, an unusual text, "can you help Stan." While extremely unusual, investigators believe the text was indeed sent by Petito as opposed to the August 30 text, which many now believe was instead sent by Brian Laundrie.

The update comes just a day after investigators confirmed they found a body "consistent" with the description of Petito at a campground in Grand Teton National Park. The FBI believes the body to be Petito's but a forensic examination is yet to be done. The news led the internet to erupt in fury, as many slammed Laundrie and the family for refusing to cooperate in what is now possibly a murder investigation, although the FBI is yet to confirm that.


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As we previously reported, Schmidt received a text from her daughter on August 30, claiming she was at Yosemite National park. It is now commonly believed that text was not sent from Petito, because she never left Grand Teton, and was possibly dead by then. The August 27 text though, appears to be from her. The text became public knowledge after it was included in a warrant to search a hard drive found in the van used by Petito and Laundrie.

Gabby Petito (Instagram @gabspetito)

Who is Stan?

On August 27, Petito texted, "Can you help Stan, I just keep getting his voicemails and missed calls." According to the warrant, 'Stan' is a reference to Petito's grandfather. At first, that may sound perfectly normal. After all, how many of us haven't gotten repeated missed calls from our grandparents? What makes the text unusual is that Petito never referred to her grandfather as Stan, according to Schmidt.

"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," the warrant says. It goes on to say that "(the text was the) last communication anyone has with the subject. Her cellphone 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 (Instagram @gabspetito)

The warrant was filed on September 17, a day before Petito's body was found. It was filed at the Sarasota County Circuit Court and approved by a judge last week. The warrant also reveals that "there appeared to be more and more tension between (Gabby) and Laundrie," as noted by Schmidt in her conversations with her daughter. The hard drive was possibly found after police confiscated the white van on September 11, hours after Schmidt filed a missing person report. 

The wide-ranging warrant gives police the ability to search "any and all external storage device(s), commercial software and hardware, computer disks, disk drives, electronic mail and other computer-related operation equipment, in addition to computer photographs, graphic interchange formats and/or photographs, or other visual depictions." The warrant itself was executed on September 16, two days after Laundrie was reported to have vanished from his North Port home.

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