Gabby Petito's father says 'abuser' Brian Laundrie 'continually shamed' his daughter
'The way the abuser works is to shame the victim', said Joe Petito, Gabby's father, adding that shamed victims were less likely to confide in others
Weeks after the Gabby Petito case met with a dead end after the mysterious death of her boyfriend and the only person of interest in the case, her dad has revealed his daughter's beau Brian Laundrie "had all the hallmarks of an abuser as he pushed the travel blogger to feel shame."
Joe Petito sat down to talk about Gabby's relationship with Brian, alongside his daughter's mother Nicole Schmidt, stepdad Jim Schmidt, and stepmom Tara Petito on 'The Dr. Oz Show,' on Tuesday, November 16. On being questioned about whether they noticed any possible signs of abuse from Gabby's boyfriend, Joe told the TV personality that Brian had "all the hallmarks of an abusive relationship." Gabby's father likened Brian to a typical domestic abuser, adding, "The way the abuser works is to shame the victim." He went on to clarify that when abuse victims are shamed, they're less likely to "go out and tell you what’s going on." He added, "continually shame the victim to where they start believing that shame is theirs to hold," he said.
'We just didn't see any red flags'
The family admitted that they didn't see any "red flags" in their daughter's relationship with Brian. Gabby's stepmom said that she had been in an abusive relationship before her marriage to Joe which means she actually knew what signs to look out for but even she was unable to tell that Gabby was in an unhealthy relationship with Brian. After Gabby's death, she felt disappointed in herself for not spotting the signs. Tara Petito recounted that her own abuse started with "isolation." But it was only later and "[it] wasn’t until he hit me that realized that I needed to get out," she added.
Speaking about her daughter's relationship with Brian, Gabby's mom, Nicole, echoed a similar sentiment: "I don't know why Gabby didn't open up to me about certain things. We just didn't see any red flags," she said. As Gabby's family continues to cope with their loss, they talked about how Brian, who was never named a suspect in Gabby's murder, was able to "hide" his true self.
Gabby Petito's final resting place
Gabby Petito's remains were found near Grand Teton National Park on September 19 in Wyoming, where her parents traveled to retrieve her body. "It almost felt like her home. Her final resting place," Schmidt told Dr. Oz. "Such a beautiful, peaceful place to be. And we went there to bring her home and that’s what we did."
An autopsy showed that Gabby died due to strangulation. Schmidt said she knew her daughter was "gone" when she found out that Brian had returned to his Florida home without Gabby, with whom he was touring the country, driving the van that the couple was traveling in. On October 3, 2021, following her death, Gabby's family announced that they had launched the Gabby Petito Foundation in honor of their late daughter. "The Gabby Petito Foundation is up and running!" the foundation declared on social media "We have a lot of work to do, website is just starting out so be patient with us, we will get there. Thank you for all the support and love!"