The hour-long documentary The Murder of Gabby Petito: Truth, Lies, and Social Media aired on Peacock on December 17, 2021 months after the 22-year-old vlogger went missing and got everyone’s attention.
Gabby’s parents and step-parents talk about their daughter’s life in the documentary. They talk about the months before the fatal road trip that led to her death.
Here are some of the most shocking things that came out, like how Gabby and Brian met, how quickly they got engaged, and what Gabby’s mother said.
Gabby’s Parents on Brian
Gabby’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, and stepfather said in the documentary that Gabby and Brian met when they were in high school in Blue Point, New York and that at first they were just friends.
“They were in the same group of friends in school, [had] common interests, they liked to do things together, [they were] both artistic,” said Jim. Nichole added: “They started dating after the first road trip, when they took the car to California.”
Reporters: stop posting photos of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie together. There’s plenty of Gabby by herself. #GabbyPetito
— Sarah O’Connell (@SarahO_Connell) September 19, 2021
“They were kind of friends when they left. They came back dating. She was so happy.” Nichole and Jim Schmidt said that Brian often came to their house and seemed like a nice, polite young man when they were asked about him.
“Brian would come to my home and he was very polite, very kind,” said Nichole. “I didn’t see anything in him that would worry me at all. No red flags.” Jim said that Brian was “respectful” and even tried to talk to Gabby’s younger brothers and sisters and colour with them.
Immediate Move to Florida
When Roberta and Chris Laundrie, Brian’s parents, decided to move to North Port, Florida, in 2020, Gabby asked Brian if she could go with them, according to Gabby’s mom.
Nichole said in the documentary, “When she started dating Brian and he said, “I’m moving to Florida,” she asked, “Can I come with you?” “So she had no problem doing that. She had no fear to move to another state.”
A journalist quoted in the documentary said that when the couple moved to Florida, they lived with Brian’s parents, who treated Gabby “like a daughter.”
Gabby and Brian’s Engagement
After going out for 15 months, Gabby and Brian got engaged in July 2020. “Brian asked me to marry him and I said yes! You make life feel unreal and every day is such a dream with you,” Gabby wrote on Instagram at the time.
Jim, Gabby’s stepdad, said he was happy for the couple. “You know as a dad, you’re like, okay, you know, that’s great, you know, you can settle down a little bit. You’re happy for her, you know, that she’s found who she wanted to be with,” Jim shared.
But Joe and Gabby’s stepmother Tara wouldn’t talk on camera about their daughter’s engagement. She just said, “We’re not going to talk about that.”
Gabby’s mom, Nichole Schmidt, said in the documentary that she told Gabby that she was too young to get married to Brian Laundrie, who was 23 at the time.
“They were engaged, so it was exciting, but I was like ‘well, just make sure this is … you know you’re young, and make sure its what you want.’
“But I couldn’t tell her, you know, you can’t get married now because I got married very young,” Nichole said. In the end, the couple decided to put off the wedding.
Gabby’s body was found in Grand Teton National Park on September 19. It was later found that she had been strangled.
Brian was named as a person of interest and the FBI issued a warrant for his arrest. The 23-year-old was accused of stealing a Capital One debit card from a person who wasn’t named and running up a $1,000 balance.
As the search for Gabby’s body went on, Brian went missing. He had told his parents he was going camping at the Carlton Reserve, but they couldn’t find him.
On October 21, the FBI said that Laundrie’s body parts were found at the T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve and the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park.
Coroners found that Laundrie shot himself in the head, so they called his death a suicide.
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