Gabby Petito’s mother says the family didn’t notice any “red flags” during her daughter’s relationship with Brian Laundrie.
“I don’t know why Gabby didn’t open up to me about certain things,” Nichole Schmidt told Dr Oz in an interview due to screen on Tuesday.
“We just didn’t see any red flags,” she said.
Nearly two months after Ms Petito’s remains were found in Wyoming on 19 September, Ms Schmidt said she was “not OK”.
Ms Petito dated Laundrie for several years before their van-life trip this year.
Ms Schmidt said she had pored over her daughter’s relationship with Laundrie since the death looking for any signs she might have missed.
Laundrie, whose remains were found in a Florida state park last month, was named a “person of interest” in the case but has never been formally linked to her death by law enforcement.
Ms Petito’s father and stepmother, Joe and Tara Petito, and stepfather Jim Schmidt also sat down with Dr Oz for the interview.
During the interview, the family reveal Ms Petito’s stepmother Tara was also in an abusive relationship prior to marrying Joe.
She revealed that the abuse had begun with “isolation”.
“It wasn’t until he hit me that realised that I needed to get out,” Mrs Petito said.
Joe Petito said told Dr Oz that Laundrie’s behaviour bore all the hallmarks of abuse.
“The way the abuser works is to shame the victim,” Mr Petito said.
“And continually shame the victim to where they start believing that shame is theirs to hold.”
The family travelled to Wyoming after Ms Petito’s remains were found near Grand Teton National Park on 19 September.
Ms Schmidt described the location as her “final resting place”, adding: “Such a beautiful, peaceful place to be”.
“We went there to bring her home and that’s what we did. We did it together, and that’s what she would have wanted.”
An autopsy confirmed Ms Petito died by manual strangulation.
The family have established The Gabby Petito Foundation to help victims of domestic violence, and say it’s already getting results.
They said many women had already been in touch to say Ms Petito had inspired them to seek help and escape their own violent relationships.
The Laundrie family lawyer Steven Bertolino has said he expects an autopsy on Brian’s decomposed remains will be complete by the end of November.
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