Gabby Petito’s mother forgives Brian Laundrie, but calls his mother evil

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TAMPA, Fla. — Nichole Schmidt, Gabby Petito’s mother, expressed forgiveness towards her daughter’s killer but condemned his mother as “pure evil” during a speech at CrimeCon in Nashville.

In 2021, Gabby Petito vanished while on a road trip with her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, who returned home to Sarasota alone.

Her remains were discovered on September 19, 2021, at Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, where it was determined by a coroner that she was strangled to death and abandoned in the wilderness for weeks before being found.

Although Brian Laundrie was the main suspect in his fiancée’s death, he also disappeared after taking his own life in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park. His remains, and a notebook confessing to killing Gabby Petito, were found on October 20, 2021.

CNN reported that Petito’s mother forgave Brian Laundrie for her own sake while speaking at a CrimeCon panel.

“I speak for myself here when I say Brian, I forgive you,” Schmidt said. “I needed to release myself from the chains of anger and bitterness, that I refuse to let your despicable act define the rest of my life. Your atrocious decision to take a life, my daughter’s life, has ignited a fire within me, a fierce determination to protect the innocent from falling victim to monsters like you.”

Nichole Schmidt and other panelists speak at CrimeCon in Nashville (WFLA)

However, Schmidt’s forgiveness did not extend to Brian Laundrie’s parents, Christopher and Roberta.

Gabby Petito’s family engaged in a legal feud with the Laundrie family over claims that Christopher and Roberta Laundrie were aware that their son murdered his fiancée.

Phone conversations detailed in court documents revealed that Brian Laundrie informed his father that “Gabby’s gone.” Additionally, a “burn after reading” letter discovered by the Petito family indicated that Roberta Laundrie offered to assist her son in disposing of a body, without specifying a date or mentioning Gabby Petito.

In February, the Petito family settled with the Laundries, averting a civil trial over the matter.

Despite the legal resolution, Schmidt’s sentiments towards Brian Laundrie’s parents remained. In her address, Schmidt explicitly stated she would not forgive Roberta Laundrie.

“I see no empathy in your eyes, no remorse in your heart and no willingness to take responsibility for your actions,” Schmidt said. “You do not deserve forgiveness. You deserve to be forgotten.”

“We were denied the chance to confront our daughter’s killer, to look him in the eye and express the profound pain his actions inflicted upon us,” she added. “The unbearable weight of Gabby’s absence is compounded by the sickening injustice of her murder remaining unpunished.”

Schmidt participated in two CrimeCon panels, one to empower crime victims in sharing their narratives and another to spotlight the issue of missing and murdered indigenous women. The latter panel aimed to raise awareness for the underserved indigenous community after criticism that missing white women receive more attention than missing women of color.

In honor of Gabby Petito, her family established the Gabby Petito Foundation to aid victims of domestic violence. Learn more here.

Nathaniel Rodriguez
Nathaniel Rodriguez
Digital Reporter. Originally a native of Puerto Rico, he moved throughout the southern United States before arriving at Enterprise, Alabama, where he graduated high school. He then attended Troy University to study broadcast journalism and Spanish and graduated in the summer of 2018. After four years of working with Troy TrojanVision News, he was awarded Best News Reporter at the Headliner’s Ball.

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