The parents of Gabby Petitio, the 22-year-old blogger whose body was found in a Wyoming campsite last month, have accused her fiancé’s parents of keeping information from them.
Brian Laundrie has been missing for more than a month, and Ms Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, said she believes his parents know far more about his disappearance than they have revealed.
In an interview with 60 Minutes Australia this weekend, Ms Schmidt was scathing about the Laundries’ failure to help them find out what happened to their daughter and said she wished she could confront them in person.
“I think silence speaks volumes. I believe they know probably, if not everything, they know most of the information,” she said. “I would love to just, face to face, ask, ‘Why are you doing this? Just tell me the truth.’”
Ms Petito’s body was discovered on 19 September at the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area in Bridger-Teton National Forest, and a coroner later ruled that she had died by strangulation.
The couple were travelling together on a cross-country road trip when Ms Petito went missing. Mr Laundrie returned to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida and then disappeared himself two weeks later.
Ms Petito’s stepfather, Jim Schmidt, told 60 Minutes Australia that he objected to Mr Laundrie being described as “missing”.
“Can we change ‘missing’ to ‘hiding?’” Mr Schmidt asked the interviewer, explaining, “Gabby was missing. There’s a lot of other people out there that are missing. He’s hiding.”
Mr Laundrie has been named a “person of interest” in their investigation into Ms Petito’s death, and an arrest warrant was issued for him on bank fraud charges after authorities said he used her debit card without permission.
Ms Petito’s mother also spoke about her anguish at watching police footage of her daughter in distress. Moab City police released officers’ body camera footage last month that showed Ms Petito in tears after a reported physical altercation.
“It’s just hard to watch. I wanted to jump through the screen and rescue her,” Ms Schmidt said. “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.”
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