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Parents of Gabby Petito speak as search for Brian Laundrie continues, announce new foundation

Flanked by the family of Gabby Petito, attorney Richard Stafford said he doubts Brian Laundrie's family will lead investigators to the missing man. Photo: Screen grab from Facebook Live

The parents of a missing social media influencer, Gabby Petito, spoke publicly Tuesday through an attorney for the first time since the discovery of their daughter’s body in a dispersed camping area of the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. 

Watch their news conference below.

Richard Stafford, an attorney for the Petito and Schmidt families, said the parents of Gabby Petito believe the FBI will do everything in its power to solve the case. 

“The parents are 100% happy with the FBI,” Stafford said Tuesday. “They’ve been with us every step of the way, and we know they’ll bring justice for Gabby.” 

The Gabby Petito Foundation

Petito’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, said she can still see signs that make her remember her daughter.  For instance, she recently drove behind a car with a Wyoming license plate that made her think of Gabby.

“The letters were GBZ… Gabs,” she said, tearfully.  “She’s with us.  She’s with us.”

Petito’s parents and stepparents all showed off matching tattoos that were designed by Petito.  They all decided to get them done together in a sign of solidarity, saying they always co-parented Gabby and they don’t intend for that to stop.  They also said they need to create something positive from this tragedy, so they established the Gabby Petito Foundation.

Family attorney Rick Stafford said, “Gabby Petito was a beautiful woman.  Her infectious smile and love of life made people gravitate to her.”

The family hasn’t hammered down all of the specific details of the foundation, yet, but they say it will be aimed at helping families of missing people across the country.  Petito’s stepfather, Jim Schmidt, said other foundations have convinced law enforcement agencies to re-examine their older missing persons’ cases, and they hope their foundation can do the same things.

Schmidt said, “[In the future], some good can come out of it and that we can help people that may be in a similar situation reach out to these organizations that do similar things and find out what’s missing.”

Parents of Gabby Petito: “Brian … turn yourself in” 

Gabby Petito disappeared in late August in the midst of a cross-country camping road trip with her fiancé, who is now also missing. Searchers found the body of Petito on Sept. 19 near one of the couple’s planned camping stops. 

Stafford pushed back against the idea that the family of Petito’s fiancé, Brian Laundrie, would provide any information about his whereabouts. 

“The Laundries did not help us find Gabby. They’re not going to help us find Brian. Brian, we’re asking you to turn yourself in,” he said alongside Petito’s parents. 

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