Gabby Petito’s father has labelled Brian Laundrie and his family ‘cowards’, as the YouTuber’s family gave their first interview following her death.
In a televised sit-down with Dr Phil, Joseph Petito spoke of his disgust at the Laundrie family’s apparent failure to help with the search for Gabby, saying ‘they don’t know how to stand up for their actions.’
He also said that he believes Laundrie is alive and in hiding, and accused the 23-year-old’s parents of protecting their son, questioning why they have not launched a public appeal to find him since he disappeared three weeks ago.
‘We couldn’t find Gabby. We did anything to find Gabby. What did they do to find Brian? I haven’t seen them on any TV shows [saying] ‘Find Brian.’ Why do you think that is?’ he asked.
‘Anyone who lived in that house is a coward.’
Joseph Petito appeared on the televised special interview alongside his wife Tara, Gabby’s mother Nichole Schmidt and stepfather Jim, who agreed with Petito that Laundrie was likely ‘somewhere off the beaten path somewhere, just thinking he’s not gonna get caught.’
The family also revealed that they’d initially contacted the Laundrie family as they believed the couple were both missing, but had had their calls and text messages ignored.
‘A normal parent [would] when you text someone that [you] are going to call the cops because you can’t find your child, they would reply. [We got] no response. Nothing,’ Petito said, with Nichole Schmidt describing the lack of communication as they worried about the safety of their daughter ‘infuriating.’
Jim Schmidt told Dr. Phil that the past month had been like ‘living in a bad soap opera,’ saying ‘you don’t think things like this would happen in real life. It’s unfathomable, it really is. It makes no sense.’
‘She’s gone, and to me, I need to find meaning behind it,’ Petito said. ‘I’ve got to find some good, some positive things to come from this.’
If you have experienced a bereavement and would like to speak with someone in confidence contact Cruse Bereavement Care via their national helpline on 0808 808 1677