NORTH PORT, Fla. – The dad and mom of Gabby Petito described in heartbreaking element the moments after they heard the information that their 22-year-old daughter’s stays have been believed to have been present in Wyoming after she had been lacking for weeks, and say they imagine her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, continues to be alive. 

Joe Petito and Nichole Schmidt, Gabby’s mom and father, and her almost lifelong stepparents, Tara Petito and Jim Schmidt, sat down for an interview on Dr. Phil McGraw’s tv present that aired Tuesday. The roughly 30-minute interview lined subjects starting from Nichole Schmidt’s early inkling that her daughter was not OK; the textual content messages Gabby’s dad and mom despatched to Laundrie’s dad and mom; and their perception that he’s hiding out. 

Nearly the entire 4 dad and mom have been scattered all through the nation when the FBI informed them Sept. 19 that they “had some information that they wanted to share,” Jim Schmidt recalled. 

With Jim Schmidt in Wyoming, he met regulation enforcement brokers at a convention room of the lodge the place he was staying, he stated. As he entered the room for the assembly that day, Jim might see by way of a window an FBI agent dashing in to satisfy him. He later realized the agent needed to share the information earlier than phrase bought out of their discovery. 

“They described a piece of clothing to me that matched one of her favorite sweatshirts that we knew … was hers,” Jim Schmidt recalled. “We were all crying in the room. You know, couldn’t believe it, because we were holding out for hope. I knew what we were potentially going to find when we came here.”

“They described a piece of clothing to me that matched one of her favorite sweatshirts that we knew … was hers.” 

— Jim Schmidt, stepfather of Gabby Petito

The others joined the assembly by way of convention name, the place they realized that the FBI had discovered the stays of a physique that matched Gabby’s bodily description.

“I was able to compose myself and we got everybody on a conference call, and I was able to relay it to everyone,” Schmidt continued. While Jim Schmidt was in Wyoming, Nichole was in New York and Tara and Joe Petito have been in Florida, they informed McGraw. 

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Through tears, Petito’s mom described to McGraw studying that investigators had “found remains.”

“And we knew it was Gabby. Even though we were hoping it wasn’t,” she continued. “It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to listen to … But I knew she was gone. As a mom, I knew she was gone.” 

“We knew it was Gabby. Even though we were hoping it wasn’t. It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to listen to.”

— Nichole Schmidt, Gabby’s mom

The FBI confirmed two days later that the stays belonged to Petito and recognized the style of her demise as being murder


Nichole Schmidt added that she suspected the worst on Sept. 11, simply hours after she had reported her daughter lacking, after she realized from authorities that the van through which Gabby and Laundrie had traveled cross-country was again on the North Port, Florida, residence of Laundrie’s household. 

“I didn’t want to admit it,” she stated, “but I felt it the night I found out the van was in Florida on the 11th, I felt in my heart that she was gone.”

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Brian Laundrie and Petito had launched into their street journey mid-June in a transformed white Ford Transit van. They deliberate to go to nationwide parks alongside the way in which. They had begun courting years earlier after assembly at their native Long Island, New York, highschool and had moved to North Port, Florida, to reside with Laundrie’s dad and mom. 

On Sept. 1, Laundrie returned to the North Port residence within the couple’s van, however with out Petito, officers stated. She was not reported lacking till 10 days later, on Sept. 11, when her mom notified police in Suffolk County, New York. Authorities later seized the van from the Laundries’ residence. Brian then went lacking, along with his lawyer first telling reporters he disappeared on Sept. 14, earlier than revising the date to Sept. 13. 

Shortly thereafter, authorities named Laundrie as an individual of curiosity in reference to what was then Petito’s disappearance. On Sept. 23, the FBI issued an arrest warrant for Laundrie, accusing him of financial institution card fraud.


During the Tuesday present, Stafford alleged that Brian Laundrie stole Petito’s bank card, used it “to get home and then ran from the police.”

FBI warrant alleges Brian Laundrie committed debit card fraud following Petito's deathVideo

During a distinct portion of the interview, Joe Petito informed McGraw that Brian “didn’t tell us” that he had returned residence in Petito’s van. Nichole Schmidt added: “As far as we know, our daughter was camping.” 

The dad and mom started frantically texting and calling Brian Laundrie’s dad and mom, even considering early on that Brian was additionally lacking, Joe Petito stated. 

“One of the texts, I mean, I was going to call the police. You know, ‘Just letting you know because we have no idea, no responses,’” Joe Petito continued. “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.” 


Joe Petito additional described how Brian’s dad and mom, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, allegedly “had papers at the door,” with directions for police to contact their legal professional. 

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Petito, who has been outspoken to the media concerning his emotions towards how the state of affairs has been dealt with by the Laundrie household, informed McGraw he felt that the Laundries “owed me more than that.” 


“I’m a dad. I make my kids stand up for their decisions,” he defined. “If they make a mistake, I’ll help you. I’ll walk you through that path. But you’re going to, man, you’re going to own up to your mistake because that’s what a parent does – not what they’re doing. I’m sorry.”

Gabby’s dad and mom stated they each imagine the Laundries “know a lot more information than they’re putting out there,” as Nichole Schmidt stated. 

When requested in the event that they believed “100%” that Brian Laundrie is in hiding, Joe Petito responded: “I do.” 

“Because he’s a coward. Flat out. I could use some other words, but I can’t use them on your show. Coward,” he stated. “Anyone that lived in that house is a coward, and they don’t know how to stand up for their actions.” 

Fox News’ Michael Ruiz contributed to this report.