Nicole Schmidt, the mother of missing Florida woman, Gabby Petito, said that her daughter’s boyfriend and family largely ignored her and her own family as they desperately reached out for answers.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, 22-year-old Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, 23, embarked on a cross-country road trip this summer, but Laundrie returned to Florida without her, and her whereabouts are not known.
Gabby last spoke with her mother via FaceTime on August 23 or 24, when she may have been in Wyoming. Her mother also received a text message from Gabby’s phone on August 30 but said she wasn’t certain her daughter wrote the message.
Schmidt declined to share details about the message in an interview with “CBS Mornings” that aired Tuesday.
Florida authorities confirmed this week that Laundrie returned to North Port, Florida, with the converted camper he and Gabby had been traveling in, but without his girlfriend.
While speaking to DailyMail, Schmidt said that Laundrie and his parents have made no efforts to return her messages or help her while her daughter remains missing.
“I texted Brian’s mom that I was trying to get in touch with Gabby. I also texted Brian. I got no replies,” Schmidt said. “I knew something was wrong. I felt something was off and I needed to get her reported missing immediately.”
After Schmidt reported Petito as missing, Laundrie lawyered up. On Tuesday, he released the following statement through his attorney, Steve Bertolino.
“This is an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family. I understand that a search has been organized for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. On behalf of the Laundrie family, it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is re-united with her family. On the advice of counsel, the Laundrie family is remaining in the background at this juncture and will have no further comment.”
Schmidt added that Laundrie’s sister Cassie is the only person from his family who communicates with her. Schmidt finds the behavior baffling as she thought had a warm and caring relationship with Laundrie and his parents.
“It’s a very mysterious situation. We don’t understand why he’s doing this. Everybody’s assuming the worst and thinking he’s guilty of this. But I don’t want to believe that. I want to believe she’s just in need of help out there and that everybody needs to keep searching,” Schmidt said.
Authorities said Laundrie is not currently considered a suspect.
Gabrielle Petito is described as a white female with blonde hair and blue eyes. She is reportedly feet 5 inches tall and 110 pounds, with several tattoos, including one on her forearm that reads, “let it be.”
Anyone with information is urged to call CrimeStoppers at 1-800-220-TIPS.
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[Feature Photo: Gabrielle Petito/Instagram]