Gabby Petito's mom Nicole Schmidt knew she was 'gone' after learning Brian was back in Florida
The 22-year-old YouTuber was on a cross-country trip with her killer boyfriend before her remains were found on September 19, 2021
The devastated mother of Gabby Petito has spoken frankly in a documentary – ‘Gabby Petito: The Murder That Gripped the World’ – after the tragic death of her daughter. Nicole Schmidt has revealed in the documentary, airing at 10pm on February 1, 2022, that the moment she heard Petito’s boyfriend Brian Laundrie was back in Florida without her, she knew her daughter was dead.
The 22-year-old YouTuber was on a cross-country trip with her killer boyfriend before she was reported missing on September 11, 2021, by her family after they were not able to contact her for days. An intensified search was launched but tragically on September 19, a body was found in Grand Teton National Park, Wyoming. On September 21, the Teton County Coroner confirmed that the remains were of Petito and she died due to blunt-force injuries to the head and neck and manual strangulation.
On the other hand, her boyfriend, who had returned to his Florida home on September 1 with Petito’s van, vanished on September 13. After a month-long search, his body was found in a Florida swamp on October 20 and a day later it was confirmed that he died of a single gunshot wound to his death. His death is believed to be a suicide and a notebook discovered near his remains confirmed that he only killed Petito.
The FBI recently said, “Law enforcement officers were present when Mr. Laundrie's parents located an item in the park later determined to belong to Mr. Laundrie. Upon further search of the area, investigators found human remains later confirmed to be Mr. Laundrie, along with a backpack, notebook, and a revolver. A review of the notebook revealed written statements by Mr. Laundrie claiming responsibility for Ms. Petito's death.”
FBI Denver Division Special Agent in Charge Michael Schneider added: “All logical investigative steps have been concluded in this case. The investigation did not identify any other individuals other than Brian Laundrie directly involved in the tragic death of Gabby Petito. The FBI's primary focus throughout the investigation was to bring justice to Gabby and her family.”
Now, Petito’s mother has opened her heart in the documentary and said, “I knew the night the police came to my door to tell my that the van was in Florida, I knew. When I knew the van was in Florida, I knew my daughter was gone. I didn't know how, but I just knew. I didn't tell anyone else that, 'cause I had to do what I had to do, I had to report her missing, and I had to get her pictures out there. We had to find her.”
Schmidt also remembered the last hug she gave to her daughter before she embarked on her journey. She said, “I've had so many good memories over the years, but the one thing I hold dear to me is the hug that we had before she left for the trip in our driveway. It was a long, long, hug I can't describe it, I know we were saying goodbye for a long trip but it felt different and now that I look back it felt so different.”
She added, “I squeezed her so tight, and I said, ‘ love you, please be careful, this is going to be great, you're going to have so much fun’. And she squeezed me back and that was just really great and now I'll cherish it.”
As per reports, Petito’s family had the last contact with her on August 30. They received a text message from her that read, “no service in Yosemite.” Later it was found that Laundrie was seen in Florida on September 1 with Petito’s van but not her. Also, when the young woman’s family asked Laundrie and his parents about their daughter, they received no response or help. The case has brought a lot of shame for Laundrie’s parents, who not just failed to turn their son into authorities, but also did not extend a helping hand to Petito’s family after she was reported missing.