The mother of Gabby Petito is accusing Brian Laundrie’s parents of withholding critical information about her daughter’s death, as Laundrie remains missing amid an investigation into Petito’s homicide.
Nicole Schmidt, Petito’s mother, told “60 Minutes Australia” during an interview that aired on Sunday that the silence from the Laundrie family “speaks volumes,” and said she thinks they know a lot about the disappearance of their son.
“I believe they know probably, if not everything, they know most of the information. I would love to just, face to face, ask, 'Why are you doing this? Just tell me the truth,’ ” Schmidt said.
The Tetom, Wyo., County Coroner announced last week that Petito’s cause of death was strangulation, and authorities are searching for Laundrie, who disappeared after returning home from a cross-country trip with his fiancée.
The parents of Laundrie have remained largely silent as authorities search for their son as part of the probe into Petito’s death.
The family did, however, release a statement through a lawyer after the coroner's announcement, calling Petito's death a "tragedy."
"Gabby Petito’s death at such a young age is a tragedy. While Brian Laundrie is currently charged with the unauthorized use of a debit card belonging to Gabby, Brian is only considered a person of interest in relation to Gabby Petito’s demise," says the statement released by attorney Steven Bertolino, according to Fox 11 Los Angeles.
"At this time Brian is still missing and when he is located we will address the pending fraud charge against him," the statement added.
The FBI has issued a search warrant for Laundrie, who has been missing for roughly a month and was last seen by his parents in Florida.
He is named as a “person of interest” in the investigation.
Jim Schmidt, Petito’s stepfather, told "60 Minutes Australia" that people should start saying Laundrie is hiding rather than missing.
“Can we change 'missing' to 'hiding?' ” Schmid asked. “Gabby was missing. There's a lot of other people out there that are missing. He's hiding.”
Petito’s father Joe said that if the roles were reversed, he would have called Laundrie’s parents to discuss the situation as it was unfolding.
He also said he could not make sense of what the Laundrie family has done by not communicating with the Petitos.
“If Brian was staying at my house and Gabby returned to my house without him in his vehicle, I’d be on the phone with their parents, saying ‘listen we got an issue, we got some stuff we have to talk about like now, call me back. You know, that would be me,” he said.
The couple was on a cross-country road trip visiting national parks when Petito went missing. They had been documenting their travels on social media.