Family Responds to New FBI Documents on Gabby Petito


SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — The FBI has released 366 pages of new information related to the Gabby Petito case, much of which has not been previously disclosed.

In an exclusive interview with WFLA, J.B. Biunno spoke with Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, and stepmother, Tara Petito, on Tuesday.

Schmidt discussed a letter written by Gabby that was particularly troubling. “One of the letters that Gabby had written was very shocking,” Schmidt said. “It just showed us that she was trying so hard to earn love from somebody that was not being very caring to her.”

The letter in question was an apology to Brian Laundrie for getting upset about what Gabby described as “a dumb piece of paper.” Schmidt expressed anguish over the contents of the letter, noting how Gabby seemed manipulated into feeling inadequate.

The newly released documents also revealed the discovery of a revolver speedloader and crossbow arrows near Gabby’s body, details that surprised the family.

“I had no idea and I actually wanted to confirm that because I was like, ‘Is that really true?’ But it is in the report. It just blows my mind,” Schmidt said.

The exact connection of the ammunition and arrows to Gabby’s case remains unclear. According to the documents, this evidence was cited to support a search warrant application, rather than being directly linked to Laundrie.

Tara Petito acknowledged that the new revelations are re-traumatizing but emphasized the family’s determination to persevere in seeking justice.

“It is just more pain that we have to work through and keep fighting,” she said. “But it does make us want to work harder and fight harder.”

Petito’s family continues to advocate for legislative changes aimed at aiding individuals in similar situations.

“If we don’t do that, we feel like we missed our opportunity to help, because Gabby’s voice is huge and we speak for her,” Schmidt said.

The family is organizing a fundraising event on Long Island to support the Gabby Petito Foundation.

“We always say she gave us this huge platform, we have to use it. We are fighting for her. We are fighting her name and we will continue to do so,” Tara Petito said.

Gabby’s body was discovered on Sept. 19, 2021, at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. A coroner’s report concluded she had been strangled to death and left in the wilderness for several weeks.

Brian Laundrie was a primary suspect in Petito’s death but fled and was later found deceased in Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on Oct. 20, 2021. A notebook found with his remains contained a confession to killing Gabby.

Allyson Henning
Allyson Henning
Digital Reporter based in Florida, covering mainly the Sarasota and Manatee counties. Florida is home to Allyson. She was born and raised in Pinellas County and studied broadcast journalism at the University of Central Florida. In her spare time, you’ll find Allyson at one of the many beautiful beaches in Florida, playing 18 holes, or checking out new ‘foodie-friendly’ spots with her husband.

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