NEW YORK CITY, New York, Sept. 28, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — The parents of homicide victim Gabby Petito spoke Tuesday, sharing thoughts about the investigation and a new foundation they formed to honor their daughter.
They declined to talk about the search for Brian Laundrie, who was traveling with fiancée in a van before returning to his parent’s home Petito, whose body was later found near Grand Teton Nation Park, where the couple had been camping.
Laundrie, 23, reportedly returned on Sept. 1 and went missing on Sept. 14, the same day he was named a person of interest in 22-year-old Petito’s disappearance. His parents did not report his disappearance until three days later. Searches for Brian Laundrie have continued almost non-stop ever since.
On Sept. 19, remains later confirmed to be those of Petito were found near the Wyoming area where it believed the couple had camped.
Speaking at the news conferences were Gabby’s father, Joe Petito, and wife Tara Petito, and Gabby’s mother, Nicole Schmidt and husband Jim Schmidt. Also present were law enforcement officials and Petito/Schmidt family attorney Richard B. Stafford.
Asked about whether they thought Laundrie’s parents might know his whereabouts, despite their attorney’s statement Monday that they did not, Stafford responded:
“The Laundries did not help us find Gabby. They’re sure not going to help us find Brian,” Stafford said. “Brian, we’re asking you to turn yourself in to the FBI or the nearest law enforcement agency.”
Joe Petito credited the news media and social media with getting the word out on the case and generating leads.
“I actually like to thank all you guys,” he told reporters. “Ladies and gentlemen of the media, the press, especially the people that are behind the camera,” he said. “Social media has been amazing. So I just like to thank everyone for that I do, it is greatly appreciated that was very helpful in bringing our daughter home.”
Gabby’s body is still in the custody of Wyoming officials due to the ongoing investigation. Her memorial in Long Island was held without her remains.
Petito also said he was grateful for the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
“The parents are 100% happy with the FBI,” he said. “They’ve been with us at every single step of the way. And we know that they will bring justice for Gabby.”
Gabby’s parents and step-parents revealed matching tattoos they had gotten together on Monday. They matched a tattoo Gabby had designed for herself.
“I wanted to have her with me all the time,” mother Nicole Schmidt said. “We all feel it. This helps.”
All four displayed their tattoos, featured the words “Let it be,” in script, and what appeared to be a single wave.
The family will also remember Gabby through the newly formed Gabby Petito Foundation, Stafford said. Its mission will be to raise funds to help others trying to find missing loved ones.
“We’re just hopeful that it’s, we’re able to help people in the future, you know, just try to get through something similar,” Joe Petito said.
Stafford said in his introduction that the foundation is also designed as a legacy to Gabby.
“Gabby Petito, was a beautiful woman with an infectious smile and love of life that made people gravitate to her. Gabby Petito loved life loved people, and loved experiences. She was the bright light in everyone’s life that knew her. Abby’s family does not want that light to dim, and they want to make some good from this awful tragedy. That’s why they’re starting the Gabby Petito Foundation.”