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Gabby Petito’s brother visits spot where she was murdered by Brian Laundrie: ‘There are signs of her everywhere’

On Tuesday, TJ Schmidt shared a heartbreaking post on Instagram saying he’d visited Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park

Andrea Blanco
Wednesday 12 October 2022 19:01 BST

Gabby Petito’s brother has opened up about visiting the place where she was murdered.

It’s been a little over a year since Petito, 22, was murdered by her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, during a cross-country trip. As much of the national attention that fueled the desperate search for the New York native begins to wane, her family has continued efforts to remember and honour her memory.

On Tuesday, Petito’s brother, TJ Schmidt, shared a heartbreaking post on Instagram saying he had visited Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park, the site where Laundrie killed Petitio sometime in August 2021 and where her body was found on 19 September of that year.

“This post is a tough one for me but visiting where my sister was taken from us was enlightening in many ways as painful as it was,” Mr Schmidt wrote. “But the signs of her watching over were everywhere.”

Mr Schimdt also shared snaps of the park and a picture that showed a tribute with Polaroids of a smiling Petito with her loved ones, and lilac and purple flowers. The post comes just weeks after the Petito family announced support for a bill that would streamline missing person reports nationwide.

Gabby Petito and her brother, TJ Schmidt (TJ Schmidt/Instagram )

On the anniversary of the day that Petito’s remains were found last month, Petito’s father thanked the public for spreading the word about his daughter’s disappearance ultimately helping find her.

“It’s because of all of you we were able to bring [Gabby Petito] home. Today is particularly hard for us but if you can, please take a moment and share a [missing persons] story to help bring them home safe,” Joseph Petito wrote on Instagram.

In addition to endorsing The Help Find The Missing Act federal proposed bill, the family also started the Gabby Petito Foundation in October last year.

The foundation aims at addressing “the needs of organisations that support locating missing persons and to provide aid to organisations that assist victims of domestic violence situations, through education, awareness and prevention strategies”.

Law enforcement officials sound Petito remains last year, weeks after the social media influencer went missing during a “dream” cross-country trip from New York to Oregon with her fiancé.

Police released body camera footage of the couple almost a month before a search got underway for the 22-year-old. The almost hour-long video shows officers from Moab City Police Department separating them after they had an argument.

Her family has since filed a $50m wrongful death lawsuit against the department, alleging that their negligence led to the vlogger’s death.

Petito, from Blue Point, Long Island, was last seen on 24 August when she checked out of a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah, with Laundrie, her partner of two and a half years. On 15 September 2021, North Port Police in Florida revealed that Laundrie was a “person of interest” in the case.

Two days earlier, Laundrie himself went missing, although his family did not report his absence to the police for several days. He was believed to have headed to the nearby Carlton Reserve with just a backpack, prompting an intense manhunt in the area.

While law enforcement was searching for Laundrie in Florida on 19 September, investigators announced they had located a body believed to be that of Petito in the eastern portion of Grand Teton National Park.

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie (Instagram)
Gabby Petito on police bodycam footage

The discovery was aided by another travel YouTuber who spotted Ms Petito’s van in a video they had been editing.

On 20 October 2021, skeletal human remains found inside the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in Florida were confirmed to be those of Laundrie.

Autopsy results showed Laundrie died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound, and a notebook found alongside the remains contained a note claiming responsibility for the murder.

Family members and police had conducted a nationwide search for the missing “van life” blogger after her mother, Nicole Schmidt, reported her missing on 11 September, ten days after Laundrie had returned home to North Port, Florida, in the couple’s white Ford transit van without her and declined to cooperate with inquiries from Petito’s family.

The couple had been documenting their travel experiences as “van lifers” since setting out from New York on 2 July via a YouTube channel called Nomadic Statik.

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