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Brian Laundrie manhunt: Gabby Petito’s dad and mom say fugitive fiancé nonetheless alive, recall studying tragic information

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NORTH PORT, Fla. – The dad and mom of Gabby Petito described in heartbreaking element the moments after they heard the information that their 22-year-old daughter’s stays had been believed to have been found in Wyoming after she had been lacking for weeks, and say they consider her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, remains to be alive. 

Joe Petito and Nichole Schmidt, Gabby’s mom and father, and her almost lifelong step-parents, Tara Petito and Jim Schmidt, sat down for an interview with Dr. Phil McGraw that aired Tuesday on his self-named present. The roughly 30-minute interview coated subjects starting from Nichole Schmidt’s early inkling that her daughter was not okay; the textual content messages Gabby’s dad and mom despatched to Laundrie’s dad and mom; and their perception that he’s hiding out. 

Almost all the 4 dad and mom had been unfold out all through the nation when the FBI advised them on Sept. 19 that they “had some data that they wished to share,” Jim Schmidt recalled. 

With Jim Schmidt in Wyoming, he met legislation enforcement brokers at a convention room of the resort the place he was staying, he mentioned. As he entered the room for the assembly that day, Jim may see by means of a window an FBI agent speeding in to satisfy him. He later discovered it as a result of he wished to share the information earlier than phrase obtained out of their discovery. 

“They described a bit of clothes to me that matched one of her favourite sweatshirts that we knew was, that we knew was hers,” Jim Schmidt recalled. “We had been all crying within the room. , could not consider it, as a result of we had been holding out for hope. I knew what we had been doubtlessly going to search out after we got here right here.”

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The others joined the assembly through convention name, the place they discovered that the FBI had discovered the stays of a physique that matched Gabby’s bodily description.

“I used to be in a position to compose myself and we obtained everyone on a convention name, and I used to be in a position to relay it to everybody,” Schmidt continued. Whereas Jim Schmidt was in Wyoming, Nichole was in New York and Tara and Joe Petito had been in Florida, they advised McGraw. 

By way of tears, Petito’s mom described to McGraw studying that investigators had “discovered stays.”

“And we knew it was Gabby. Despite the fact that we had been hoping it wasn’t,” she continued. “It was the toughest factor I’ve ever needed to take heed to … However I knew she was gone. As a mother, I knew she was gone.” 

The FBI confirmed two days later that the stays belonged to Petito and recognized the way of her loss of life as being homicide


Nichole Schmidt added that she suspected the worst on September 11, simply hours after she had reported her daughter lacking, after she discovered from authorities that the van by which Gabby and Laundrie had traveled cross-country was again at his household’s North Port, Florida house. 

“I did not need to admit it,” she mentioned, “however I felt it the night time I came upon the van was in Florida on the eleventh, I felt in my coronary heart that she was gone.”

Brian Laundrie and Petito had launched into their highway journey mid-June in a transformed white Ford Transit van with the plan to go to nationwide parks alongside the best way. They’d begun courting years earlier after assembly at their native Long Island, New York, highschool and had moved to North Port, Florida, to dwell with Laundrie’s dad and mom. 

On Sept. 1, Laundrie returned to the North Port house within the couple’s van, however with out Petito, officers mentioned. She was not reported lacking till 10 days later, on Sept. 11, when her mom notified police in Suffolk County, New York. Authorities later seized the van from the Laundries’ house. Brian then went lacking, along with his lawyer first telling reporters he disappeared on Sept. 14, earlier than altering course to Sept. 13. 

Shortly thereafter, authorities named Laundrie as an individual of curiosity in reference to what was then her disappearance. On Sept. 23, the FBI issued an arrest warrant for him, accusing him of financial institution card fraud.


Through the Tuesday present, Stafford alleged that Brian Laundrie stole Petito’s bank card, used it “to get house after which ran from the police.”

Throughout a special portion of the interview, Joe Petito advised McGraw that Brian “didn’t inform us” that he had returned house in Petito’s van. Nichole Schmidt added: “So far as we now, our daughter was tenting.” 

The dad and mom started frantically texting and calling Brian Laundrie’s dad and mom, even considering early-on that Brian was additionally lacking, Joe Petito mentioned. 

“One of many texts, I imply, I used to be going to name the police. , ‘Simply letting you recognize as a result of we do not know, no responses,’” Joe Petito continued. “A standard mum or dad, if you textual content somebody that they’re going to name the cops as a result of you’ll be able to’t discover your youngster, they might reply.” 


Joe Petito additional described how Brian’s dad and mom, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, allegedly “had papers on the door,” with directions for police to contact their legal professional. 

Petito, who has been outspoken to the media relating to his emotions towards how the state of affairs has been dealt with by the Laundrie household, advised McGraw he felt that the Laundries “owed me greater than that.” 


“I am a dad. I make my youngsters get up for his or her selections,” he defined. “In the event that they make a mistake, I am going to show you how to. I am going to stroll you thru that path. However you are going to, man, you are going to come clean with your mistake as a result of that is what a mum or dad does – not what they’re doing. I am sorry.”

Gabby’s dad and mom mentioned they each really feel that the Laundries “know much more data than they’re placing on the market,” as Nichole Schmidt mentioned. 


When requested in the event that they believed “100%” that Brian Laundrie is in hiding, Joe Petito responded: “I do.” 

“As a result of he’s a coward. Flat out. I may use another phrases, however I can’t use them in your present. Coward,” he mentioned. “Anybody that lived in that home is a coward, and so they don’t know how one can get up for his or her actions.” 

Fox Information’ Michael Ruiz contributed to this report. 

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