Search icon


10th May 2024

Mother of Gabby Petito speaks out as harrowing new documentary airs

Kat O'Connor

Gabby Petito was tragically killed at the mere age of 22

A harrowing documentary about the late Gabby Petito aired on ITV this week.

The documentary was heartbreaking to watch, but it was the words of her mother Nichole Schmidt that stuck with viewers.

As per The Mirror, her mum explained that she knew her daughter was gone once she had disappeared.

She said: “Gabby was officially a missing person on September 11, 2021.

“That night a detective showed up at my door and from that moment on, I knew in my heart that my daughter was gone – but I kept strong for everyone else.

“It was a mother’s instinct. I just knew. Her dad Joe asked what I thought and I said, ‘I don’t know but we need to find her.”

What happened to Gabby Petito?

Gabby Petito was travelling with her fiancé Brian Christopher Laundrie in the August of 2021. The couple had met in high school in 2019 and announced their engagement the following year. It looked like they had the perfect relationship on social media, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

The pair had planned to travel together for four months, but Petito vanished on August 27th just weeks after they set off on their adventure. She was officially reported as a missing person on September 11th, 2021.

The pair had been documenting their travels on social media before Gabby went missing.

Laundrie quickly became a person of interest after he refused to talk about Gabby’s whereabouts. He travelled back in their van from Wyoming to his parent’s home in Florida. He refused to cooperate with the investigation.

Laundrie claimed he was exercising his constitutional rights by not speaking to the authorities, but the case took a dramatic turn when he was reported missing on September 17th.

The investigation continued, but it took over a month for police to find Gabby Petito’s body.

Her remains were found on September 19th in Wyoming’s Bridger–Teton National Forest. Following an autopsy, police confirmed that Gabby died from blunt-force injuries to her head and neck and manual strangulation.

The body of Laundrie was later discovered in Florida’s Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on October 20th.

An autopsy confirmed that he died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. Authorities discovered a notebook near his remains. He confessed to killing 22-year-old Petito in the notebook, the FBI shared.

What did the letter say?

According to reports, Laundrie confessed to killing Gabby after she suffered a fall during their trip.

He said it was merciful because “it is what she wanted”.

“I ended her life. I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistakes I made.

He continued, “I panicked. I was in shock. But from the moment I decided, took away her pain, I knew I couldn’t go on without her.”

Along with his confession, another letter was found near his body.

This letter was from Laundrie’s mother who said she would help her son if he needed to “dispose of a body”.

It read, “If you’re in jail, I will bake a cake and put a file in it. If you need to dispose of a body, I will show up with a shovel and garbage bags.”

Gabby’s parents set up The Gabby Petito Foundation following their daughter’s untimely passing.

The aim of the organisation is to “support locating missing persons and to provide aid to organizations that assist survivors of domestic violence through education, awareness, and prevention strategies”.