Gabby Petito's mum makes bold claim: 'THEY KNOW'

·5-min read

Gabby Petito's mother has recalled her heartbreaking reaction to the video of her daughter speaking with police just days before her disappearance and death.

Nichole Schmidt spoke exclusively to Australia's 60 Minutes, along with Gabby's father Joseph Petito and step-father Jim Schmidt, revealing what the couple were like before the tragic ordeal.

Gabby's disappearance and murder, along with the search for Brian has intrigued people all over the world, while her family grieves.

Pictured is Gabby Petito's mother, Nichole Schmidt speaking to 60 minutes
Gabby Petito's mother, Nichole Schmidt said life since her daughter's disappearance and death has been 'surreal'. Source: 60 Minutes

"Nobody expects anything like this to happen, let alone the attention that it's gotten," Ms Schmidt told Channel 9's 60 Minutes.

"It's very surreal. It's almost like you're outside looking in, it doesn't even feel like it's you."

In June this year, the engaged couple set off on a cross-country road trip in a van. 

Along the way, the two encountered police following an apparent argument, and days later Brian returned home to Florida alone.

Nicole Schmidt, mother of Gabby Petito, whose death on a cross-country trip has sparked a manhunt for her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, speaks alongside, from left, Tara Petito, stepmother, Jim Schmidt, stepfather, and Joseph Petito, father, during a news conference.
Gabby Petito's family made appeals to the public before her remains were found in a Wyoming national park. Source: AP Photo/John Minchillo

"When the detective came to my door to let me know that the van was in Florida with him, she also said that he had obtained a lawyer. I almost fell on the ground," Ms Schmidt told 60 Minutes.

"I just went into shock, I knew something was wrong."

On September 19, Gabby's remains were found in Teton County in Wyoming, the coroner later determined the cause of death was strangulation

"This was like, evil. She was taken at somebody else's hand, it's not fair," Ms Schmidt said.

FILE - This police camera video provided by The Moab Police Department shows Gabrielle
Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie were pulled over by the police on August 12, following reports of a dispute. Source: The Moab Police Department via AP

When Ms Schmidt watched the footage of the police officer talking to Gabby and Brian on August 12, she said she wanted to "jump through the screen and rescue her".

"I saw a young girl that needed someone to just hug her and keep her safe. I just felt so bad for her. I wish that she reached out to me," she said.

Brian Laundrie's family 'know'

The coroner estimates Gabby died about three to four weeks before her body was discovered, while Brian has been missing since he took off for a hike on September 13.

A manhunt is underway, but so far the search of the reserve, Brian Laundrie supposedly set off for, has brought about nothing.

While Gabby's family have been in the public eye since she was missing, Brian's parents have remained quiet.

“I think silence speaks volumes. Because I believe they know, probably if not everything, they know most of the information,” Ms Schmidt said.

“I would love to just face to face ask, 'Why are you doing this? Just tell me the truth'."

Mr Petito said it would be "cruel" if Brian's family was withholding information.

 Members of the media wait near the home of Brian Laundrie, who is a person of interest after his fiancé Gabby Petito went missing on September 20, 2021 in North Port, Florida. A body has been found by authorities in Wyoming that fits the description of Petito, who went missing while on a cross country trip with Laundrie
Brian Laundrie's family have stayed relatively quiet since he took off for a hike in September and never returned. Source: Getty Images

"If they do know something they're withholding that and then they don't want to let us know, that's cruel," he said.

"If you don't know, and you're still not saying something. It's still cruel, and that is my opinion."

Mr Schmidt said Brian isn't "missing", instead, he is "hiding".

"Gabby was missing. There's a lot of other people out there that are missing. He's hiding," he said.

"We were up every day and every night until we found Gabby, are the people that love him doing the same thing for him? And why not?

"Because if they were maybe he would be found by now."

'I thought he would take care of her'

Gabby's family previously said they last spoke with Gabby in late August, her last text saying there was no reception in Yosemite [National Park].

However, days after the texts and social media posts stopped, Ms Schmidt became very worried, as it was unlike her daughter to not make contact.

Not being able to contact Gabby or Brian, her family worried for her and her partner, and eventually went to the police to report her as missing.

She worried something had happened to the both of them.

Gabby's father, Joseph Petito, previously told Dr Phil he didn't even get a response from Christopher and Roberta, Brian's parents, after he said they were going to the police out of concern.

"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," he said.

Gabby Petito vanished while on a cross-country trip in a converted camper van with Brian Laundrie, her body was later found in Wyoming. Source: Courtesy of FBI Denver via AP
Gabby Petito vanished while on a cross-country trip in a converted camper van with Brian Laundrie. Source: Courtesy of FBI Denver via AP

Gabby and Brian met in high school and the two became engaged last year.

Her family described him as quiet, but polite. Her step-father Jim Schmidt said Brian had a relationship with their other children, saying they got to know him and also liked him.

While Ms Schmidt said she worried for her daughter as she set off on her trip, she thought she would be okay, because she was with Brian.

"I think I thought he would take care of her," she told 60 Minutes.

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