Gabby Petito's Father Desperate for Answers as Search Continues for 'Free Spirit' N.Y. Woman

"If Woodstock was still going on, she'd still be there," Joseph Petito tells PEOPLE of his 22-year-old daughter, who remains missing

Earlier this week, the father of missing Long Island, N.Y., woman Gabrielle Petito awoke to find that his daughter's Instagram page — full of pictures she has taken over the years — was down.

"I cried for like 10 minutes," Joseph Petito tells PEOPLE, adding that the 22-year-old's Instagram account was restored soon after. "I'm not naive to how these stories usually end. So, if it does end that way — and that's a big if — those pictures were all I had left."

Joseph says he does remain hopeful his daughter — who has not been heard from since Aug. 25 — will be found safe and sound, and tells PEOPLE he'll stop at nothing to bring Gabby home.

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"It's just a shame that we're in the predicament we're in now, because she's so amazing," says Joseph. "She's so artistic. She's an amazing artist. She loves to draw. She has a great eye with decorating ... She's that flower child type of personality. The old soul, you know?"

gabby petito
Gabrielle Petito with her dad, Joseph. Facebook

Adds the dad: "If Woodstock was still going on, she'd still be there, man. She's a hippie from the '60s, all right? She's a Beatles fan, round glasses ... a free spirit."

Gabby and her fiancé, 23-year-old Brian Laundrie, had been traveling across the United States in a repurposed Ford Transit van since early July. Friends and relatives told Newsday that Gabby had been documenting her travels on YouTube.

Gabrielle Petito
Gabby Petito. Suffolk County Police Department

Gabby and Laundrie — named a person of interest in her disappearance on Wednesday — started off their trip traveling from Florida to New York.

Last month, they arrived in Salt Lake City, Utah, staying only a short time as wildfire smoke blanketed the region.

The couple apparently stopped in Grand Teton National Park on Aug. 25 before heading for Yellowstone.

Laundrie went to high school with Gabby, her father told PEOPLE Wednesday. Their friendship turned romantic only "a couple of years ago," he said.

Gabby was reported missing on Sept. 11 — 10 days after Laundrie returned to his parents' North Port, Fla., home in their van.

Gabby is a white female, approximately 5 feet 5 inches tall and 110 pounds. She has blonde hair and blue eyes, and several tattoos, including one on her finger and one on her forearm that reads "let it be."

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North Port Police allege Laundrie has refused to cooperate with their investigation, or answer any questions about Gabby.

Anyone with information on her whereabouts is urged to call 800-CALL-FBI.

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