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Gabby Petito's Mother Says She KNEW Her Daughter Was Dead When Brian Laundrie Showed Up In Florida Alone With The Van

Gabby Petito Mother Nichole Schmidt Knew Daughter Was Dead Brian Laundrie Arrived Florida With Van

For most of the world, the Gabby Petito case turned irreversibly tragic when, after an exhaustive search, the 22-year-old’s remains were found in the Grand Teton National Park in Jackson, Wyoming.

But for Gabby’s mother, the hope died long before that. Now that it’s all over, Nichole Schmidt is finally admitting she believed her daughter was dead all along.

Related: FBI Reveals Evidence That Led Them To Close The Case On Gabby’s Murder

The UK’s Channel 5 aired its new documentary on the case, Gabby Petito: The Murder That Gripped the World, on Tuesday night, and while not much new is unveiled in the program, Nichole’s heartbreaking admission is.

As those following the case know, the investigation began on September 1, 2021, when Gabby’s fiancé Brian Laundrie arrived home in North Port, Florida, driving Gabby’s fan… but without Gabby.

Nichole says from the very start she knew her baby was gone. Fighting back tears, she admits:

“I knew the night the police came to my door to tell my that the van was in Florida, I knew. When I knew the van was in Florida, I knew my daughter was gone. I didn’t know how, but I just knew.”

Perhaps it was Brian’s arrival paired with the bad feeling she already had from the odd last texts she got from her daughter, including one that mentioned her late grandfather. A search warrant for the van, released after Gabby was found, revealed Nichole’s concerns:

“The mother was concerned that something was wrong with her daughter. This is the last communication anyone had with the subject.”

But the momma didn’t allow herself to give in to despair, not while there was a chance. She fought through to get her daughter back, no matter what that meant. That meant not sharing her belief that her daughter was gone:

“I didn’t tell anyone else that, ’cause I had to do what I had to do, I had to report her missing, and I had to get her pictures out there. We had to find her.”

Nichole, her husband Jim Schmidt, her ex Joe Petito, and his wife Tara Petito never acted as if their daughter was gone. They never stopped fighting. Putting on a united front, they finally reported Gabby missing on September 11. North Port police went to the Laundries, who refused to speak and instead gave the cops “the information for their attorney.” Eventually, as the case got national attention, plenty of people did help — and thanks to tips, authorities eventually found Gabby’s remains on September 19.

Speaking about the last moment she shared with her daughter before the big road trip, Nichole opens up in the documentary:

“I’ve had so many good memories over the years, but the one thing I hold dear to me is the hug that we had before she left for the trip in our driveway.”

Through tears, the grieving mother recalls:

“It was a long, long, hug I can’t describe it, I know we were saying goodbye for a long trip but it felt different and now that I look back it felt so different. I squeezed her so tight, and I said, ‘I love you, please be careful, this is going to be great, you’re going to have so much fun.’ And she squeezed me back and that was just really great and now I’ll cherish it.”

At least they had a lovely goodbye. It would undoubtedly be so much worse if their parting words had been upset over something small — as so many of ours often are with loved ones.

Be safe out there, everyone — and remember to tell your loved ones how important they are to you!

[Image via Peacock/Nomadic Statik/YouTube.]

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Feb 01, 2022 15:25pm PDT