North Port, Fla. – parent of Gabby Petito He describes in heartbreaking detail the moments when he heard the news that the remains of his 22-year-old daughter had been found in Wyoming after she had been missing for weeks, and says he believes his fiancé Brian The laundry is still alive.
Joe Pettito and Nicole Schmidt, Gabby’s mother and father, and her nearly lifelong step-parents, Tara Pettito and Jim Schmidt, sit down for an interview on Dr. Phil McGraw’s television show that airs Tuesday. The nearly 30-minute interview ranged from early signs Nicole Schmidt was not well to her daughter; Text messages Gabby’s parents sent to Laundry’s parents; And they believe that he is hiding.
Jim Schmidt recalled that when the FBI told him on September 19 that they had “some information they wanted to share, almost all four parents were scattered across the country.”
He said that along with Jim Schmidt in Wyoming, he met with law enforcement agents in a conference room of the hotel where he was staying. As he entered the meeting room that day, Jim saw an FBI agent running to meet him through the window. He later learned that the agent wanted to share the news before his search was out.
Jim Schmidt recalled, “He described to me a piece of clothing that matched one of his favorite sweatshirts that we knew … was his.” “We were all across the room crying. You know, can’t believe it, because we stayed for hope. I knew what we were potentially going to find when we got here.”
Others joined the meeting via conference call, where they learned that the FBI had found the remains of a body that matched Gabby’s physical description.
“I was able to prepare myself and we all got on a conference call, and I was able to relay it to everyone,” Schmidt continued. When Jim Schmidt was in Wyoming, Nicole was in New York and Tara and Joe Pettito were in Florida, they told McGraw.
Brian Laundry’s Family Says Why He Went to Fla without Gabby
Through tears, Petito’s mother described McGraw learning that investigators had found “remains”.
“And we knew it was Gabby. Even though we were hoping it wasn’t,” she continued. “It was the hardest thing I ever had to hear … but I knew she was gone. As a mother, I knew she was gone.”
The FBI confirmed two days later that the remains belonged to Petito and identified the manner of his death as murder.
Nicole Schmidt said she suspected the worst on September 11, just hours after she reported her daughter’s disappearance, when she learned from officers that the van in which Gabby and Laundry had traveled cross-country had Returned to North Port, Florida. Laundry’s family home.
“I didn’t want to admit it,” she said, “but I realized that the night I found out the van was in Florida on the 11th, I felt in my heart that it was gone.”
Screen shots of body camera footage released by the Moab Police Department of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundry. (Moab, Utah PD)
Brian Laundry and Petito began their road trip in mid-June in a converted white Ford Transit van. He planned to visit the national parks on the way. They began dating years ago after meeting at their local Long Island, New York, high school and moved to North Port, Florida to live with Laundry’s parents.
On September 1, Laundry returned to the North Port home in the couple’s van, but without Petito, officials said. She was not reported missing until 10 days later, on September 11, when her mother notified police in Suffolk County, New York. The officers later confiscated the van from the laundry house. After Brian went missing, his attorney first told reporters that he disappeared on September 14, before revising the date to September 13.
Soon after, authorities named Laundry as a person of interest in relation to Petito’s disappearance. On September 23, the FBI issued an arrest warrant for Laundry alleging bank card fraud.
Can Laundry’s Parents Face Charges?
During Tuesday’s show, Stafford alleged that Brian Laundry stole Petito’s credit card, used it to “get home and then ran away from the police.”
During a separate part of the interview, Joe Pettito told McGraw that Brian “didn’t tell us” that he had returned home in Pettito’s van. Nicole Schmidt said: “As far as we know, our daughter was camping.”
Joe Pettito said that the parents mercilessly began calling and calling Brian Laundry’s parents, even thinking Brian was missing.
“One of the lessons, I mean, I was going to call the police. You know, ‘Just telling you because we have no information, no response,’” Joe Pettito continued. “A normal parent, when you text someone that they are going to call the police because you can’t find your child, they will respond.”
Joe Pettito further explained how Brian’s parents, Chris and Roberta Laundry, reportedly “had papers on the door,” with instructions for police to contact their attorney.
Petito, who has been vocal to the media about his feelings about how the situation has been handled by the laundry family, told McGraw that he felt the laundry “owed me more.”
“I am a father. I stand up for my children for their decisions,” he explained. “If they make a mistake, I’ll help you. I’ll walk you down that path. But you’re going, man, you’re going to make up for your mistake because that’s what a parent does — what don’t they do.” are. I’m sorry.”
As Nicole Schmidt put it, Gabby’s parents said they both believe the laundry “knows a lot more information than they put in there.”
When asked if they “100%” believe Brian Laundry is hiding, Joe Pettito replied: “I do.”
“Because he’s a coward. Flat out. I could have used a few other words, but I can’t use them on your show. Coward,” he said. “Anyone living in that house is a coward, and they don’t know how to stand up for their actions.”
Granthshala News’ Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.