‘It’s still unbelievable’: Family of Gabby Petito recall torment of searching for daughter

Many questions still remain over the 22-year-old’s disappearance, and a new documentary will attempt to shed further light on what really transpired

Tom Fenton
Wednesday 15 December 2021 02:17 GMT
Gabby Petito's family sits down with Dr. Oz

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas

Editor

A new documentary that features members of Gabby Petito’s family being interviewed is set to be released this week – three months after her disappearance.

A trailer for the film, titled, The Murder of Gabby Petito: Truth, Lies and Social Media is already available to watch, ahead of its full release on streaming platform Peacock this Friday.

“It was like every parents’ nightmare,” Gabby’s stepfather, Jim Schimdt, states in the trailer. “Just like, in a flash of second. She’s gone, she’s missing.” Her mother, Nicole Schimdt, is also heard from in the trailer, expressing that “it’s still unbelievable”.

Petito, who had amassed a sizable following of fans on her YouTube channel, was reported missing by her parents on 11 of September.

This was following a cross-country trip she had been on with her 23-year-old fiance, Brian Laundrie, much of which had been documented by the pair in videos uploaded to social media. However, on 1 September, Laundrie returned to his home in Florida alone, along with Petito’s van.

The mysterious nature of her disappearance saw the story grow, with it eventually becoming international news. In the trailer for the new documentary, Petito’s mother and stepfather are both featured.

The role that social media played in the search for Petito is expected to be a recurring theme in the Peacock documentary, as many journalists and Twitter users scrambled to try and piece together the timeline of events.

Some reporters, who followed the case from the very beginning, were also interviewed for the feature film.

Petito with her partner Laundrie, during their cross-country trip
Petito with her partner Laundrie, during their cross-country trip (YouTube/ Nomadic Statik)

On 32 September, remains were uncovered in the Bridger-Teton National Forest, which were later identified as Petito’s. Shortly after, the cause of death was revealed to be homicide, although with Laundrie also going missing in the days following her disappearance, the only potential witness – and suspect – was unable to reached.

A month-long search for Laundrie ended on 20 of October, when his body was discovered in his home state of Florida. The medical examiner’s office later stated that the cause of death was suicide, although notably, Laundrie wasn't named by police as a suspect in the weeks following Petito’s death.

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