Gabby Petito's parents claim they were fooled by 'quiet and polite' Brian Laundrie
Gabby Petito's parents have claimed that a seemingly “quiet and polite” Brian Laundrie fooled them when they believed he would “take care of her” and keep her safe during their cross-country road trip. Laundrie is instead on the run and has been named a person of interest in Gabby Petito's murder. Petito was found strangled to death at a remote Wyoming campground, days after she went missing while on the trip with Laundrie.
“He just seemed like a nice guy,” Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, told Australia’s “60 Minutes” in an interview. “I worried. I told her to be careful, be safe. To be aware of your surroundings. Don’t trust anybody.” "But I felt safe because she was with Brian and I felt like she would be OK,” she added. “I thought he would take care of her.”
An emotional Joe Petito, Gabby Petito's father, said, "She did look happy. But as we look more and more into this, it might not have been as great as people online perceived.” Nicole Schmidt said that they failed to judge Laundrie correctly. "He was very polite and quiet,” she said. “He’d draw them pictures and stuff. He would read books to my little one at night before bed. So, he just seemed like a nice guy.” Echoing her thoughts, Gabby Petito’s stepfather, Jim Schmidt, said, "Every time he would come over he was polite. He’d talk with our other children as well. They got to know him and they liked him.”
Gabby Petito's family has now announced the Gabby Petito Foundation to extend a helping hand to victims of domestic abuse, as well as assist in other missing person cases. On Sunday, October 17, the group's first fundraiser was held in Petito’s native Blue Point. “It’s a fundraiser by some of their friends to raise money to help people in Gabby’s situation,” family attorney Richard Stafford said. “The foundation that they are in the process of setting up is going to be to help find missing people and women in abusive relationships.”
Earlier, Gabby Petito’s mother slammed Brian Laundrie's attorney after he released a statement following the young woman’s cause of death being revealed. Nicole Schmidt called lawyer Steven Bertolino’s remark “garbage” in a text message to a reporter. Bertolino released a statement while expressing his sorrow. He stated, “Gabby Petito’s death at such a young age is a tragedy,” before adding, “While Brian Laundrie is currently charged with the unauthorized use of a debit card belonging to Gabby, Brian is only considered a person of interest in relation to Gabby Petito's demise. At this time Brian is still missing and when he is located we will address the pending fraud charge against him.”
In response to that, Gabby's mother sent a message to the reporter from WFLA in Tampa Bay that read, “His words are garbage. Keep talking.” The cause of death was announced as Gabby’s boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, continues to be missing for almost a month. He was reported missing by his family on September 17 -- two days before the YouTuber’s remains were discovered in the wilderness. His parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, informed authorities that they last saw their son on September 14 when he went for a hike.