Gabby Petito’s family is reuniting for the first time to talk about the 22-year-old vlogger’s life, legacy, and untimely death. Gabby went missing while on a cross-country road trip with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, and her remains were discovered late last month.
Gabby’s father, Joe Petito, and stepmother, Tara Petito, as well as her mother, Nichole Schmidt, and stepfather, Jim Schmidt, gathered for a two-part interview on Dr. Phil’s show in the wake of the tragic news.
Gabby Petito’s family stated on Wednesday, Oct. 6, that they are hopeful that her fugitive boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, will be arrested and brought to justice in her death and disappearance, per New York Post.
Gabby Petito’s father stated that he wants Brian Laundrie, the young woman’s fiancé, to be found alive.
“I want to see him in a jail cell the rest of his life where—he’s an outdoorsman—being in that concrete cell that he can’t go see those trees and smell the fresh air like that,” Joe Petito said in an exclusive interview.
“I want to look him in the eyes,” Nichole Schmidt, Petito’s mother, added.
Gabby’s parents criticized Brian’s family for their manner of handling their daughter’s situation and their own son’s disappearance. They told Dr. Phil that they had repeatedly contacted and texted Brian’s parents before reporting their daughter missing on Sept. 11, 10 days after Brian returned to Florida without her, ET online said.
They claimed they called and texted Brian’s parents, Chris and Roberta, several times before reporting their daughter missing but got no answer.
“One of the texts was ‘I’m going to call the police, just letting you know.’ No response. A normal parent, when you text someone that they’re going to call the cops because you can’t find your child, they would reply,” her father, Joe, said. “We thought they were both missing at that point in time when we were calling them.”
“We didn’t know the van was in Florida when we contacted [them]. I was worried about both of them,” Gabby’s mother, Nichole, went on.
Nichole stated on Tuesday’s episode that she believes Laundrie’s parents know more about his location than they have said.
“I do believe they know a lot more information than they’re putting out there,” she said.
The slain 22-year-old’s parents and stepparents said Gabby would have been overjoyed to have her family’s together.
“She’d be excited that we’re working together,” Joe Petito said. “We’re doing this together. This is what she wants … She always wanted us to live in a big house together, you know what I mean? She loved all of us.”
On Wednesday, Jim Schmidt, her stepfather, visited the site where her body was discovered. He placed a stone cross and planted two flowers in the spot where her head had been.
According to bodycam footage released by the Moab City Police Department on Sept. 16, officers spoke to Gabby Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, in Utah after responding to a 911 call of a domestic incident a month before she was reported missing.
“I’m glad we got to see that reality because people aren’t what you see on social media,” Nichole Schmidt said. “Even though that police video is hard to watch, I think it was a blessing to see that she’s a real human being and she was in pain.
“And I’m glad that she lived a really good life and she died doing what she loved to do,” she said. “She was out there in nature camping. She lived her dream and I’m glad she got to do that.”
In Gabby’s memory, all four of her parents got matching tattoos that simply said “Let it be,” a tattoo their daughter had previously written on her arm.