Gabby Petito's Mother Reveals What She'd Say to Brian Laundrie's Parents

Gabby Petito's mom said she "felt safe" about her trip with Brian Laundrie, saying, "I thought he would take care of her"

The parents of Gabby Petito say in a new interview they trusted her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, to protect her on the couple's road trip across America — and not return home to Florida without her and hire an attorney.

Speaking to 60 Minutes Australia, Petito's mom, Nicole Schmidt, admitted that, prior to the couple's nomadic adventure, she had concerns about her 22-year-old daughter's safety.

But, at the same time, Schmidt said, "I felt safe because she was with Brian, and I felt like she would be okay ... I thought that he would take care of her."

For the first several days of Petito's missing person case, investigators say they tried unsuccessfully to speak with Laundrie and his parents. They were directed to the family's attorney, who had instructed his clients not to speak.

Schmidt said she suspects Laundrie's parents may know what happened to her daughter, saying during the interview, "Silence speaks volumes."

Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie
Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie. Find Gabby/Facebook

She added: "I believe they know probably, if not everything, they know most of the information. I would love to face-to-face ask, 'Why are you doing this?'"

Last week, Teton County Coroner Brent Blue announced that Petito had been strangled to death three to four weeks before the discovery of her remains in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park on Sept. 15.

Laundrie, 23, was allegedly last seen the day before, when he left his parents' North Port, Fla. home, saying he was going on a hike at nearby Carlton Reserve, a 25,000-acre nature preserve consisting primarily of swampy wetlands.

He is currently considered a fugitive. A warrant for his arrest was issued in late September, accusing Laundrie of unauthorized use of a debit card. He has been named a person of interest in Petito's case, but has not been named a suspect in connection with her death. His family's attorney has said his parents have no idea where he is.

Gabby Petito
Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie. Gabby Petito Instagram

Petito — a Long Island, N.Y. native — and Laundrie had embarked on a cross-country journey in July, traveling from Florida to New York in her white Ford van, then heading west. Petito documented their adventures on her YouTube channel and planned to start a blog about their new, so-called "vandwelling" lifestyle.

Want to keep up with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE's free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

The couple's travels appeared to Petito's parents to be going well until late August, when Petito's mother stopped hearing from her while she was staying in Grand Teton National Park.

More than two weeks after their last conversation, Schmidt learned that Laundrie had quietly returned to his parents' Florida home without Petito.

Schmidt told 60 Minutes Australia she had supported Petito's decision to travel with Laundrie, whom she described as being "polite and quiet." (Joe Petito, Gabby's father, previously told PEOPLE he, too, saw "no red flags" with Laundrie.)

Gabby Petito
Gabby Petito. Gabby Petito Instagram

But Schmidt now wants to see Laundrie face justice.

Jim Schmidt, Petito's stepfather, chastised Laundrie for "hiding" from authorities, and told 60 Minutes Australia that he and his wife "want vengeance ... and justice."

On Sept. 17, the Laundrie family spoke with the FBI for the first time — but instead of getting answers about Petito's disappearance, investigators say they were informed that Laundrie himself had now gone missing, launching a second missing persons case to locate him.

Related Articles