GABBY Petito's dad has called for Brian Laundrie to be imprisoned for the rest of his life as police ramp up their efforts to find the fugitive fiance of the slain vlogger at a Florida nature reserve.
"I want to see him in a jail cell for the rest of his life" Joseph Petito said about Laundrie, 23, during an upcoming interview on Dr. Phil, which is due to air later on Wednesday.
The first part of Joseph Petito's interview, alongside his wife, Tara, Gabby's mother, Nichole Schmidt, and her husband, Jim, aired on Tuesday.
During that segment, Joseph called Laundrie's parents "cowards" for failing to properly cooperate with authorities when Gabby was first reported missing, and after their son disappeared in mid-September.
"We did everything to find Gabby," Joseph said. "I haven't seen them on any TV shows [to] find Brian — why do you think that is?"
Joe said Laundrie is alive and “too cowardly to kill himself or come forward”.
He slammed Laundrie's parents after they appeared to take days to alert police to the fact their son was missing.
Read our Brian Laundrie live blog for the very latest news and updates…
"I'd use some other words, but I can't use them on your show," he continued. "Anyone that lived in that house is a coward and they don't know how to stand up for their actions."
Gabby’s stepfather Jim Schmidt thinks Laundrie is “living off the land” as cops continue to search for the missing fugitive.
He told Dr. Phil: “Somewhere off the beaten path somewhere, just thinking he’s not gonna get caught.”
Jim also described the moment FBI agents told him that they had found a body with an identifying piece of clothing: Gabby's "favorite sweater."
He confirmed that Gabby had a sweater like the one found and called the rest of the family as they awaited an official autopsy.
Nichole said: “We knew it was Gabby even though we were hoping it wasn’t.
"It was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to listen to. It didn’t hit me right away but I knew she was gone."
Gabby and Laundrie started their cross-country road trip across America’s midwest in July where they visited national parks and canyon ranges in Kansas, Colorado, Utah, and Wyoming.
Laundrie returned to Florida alone on September 1 – days after Gabby had last spoken to her family.
Gabby’s family reported the vlogger missing on September 11 – just a week before her remains were found in Wyoming.
A preliminary autopsy ruled the manner of her death a homicide but an official cause has not been disclosed.
Laundrie was reported missing by his parents on September 17 after allegedly telling them that he was going for a hike in the alligator and snake-infested Carlton Nature Reserve in Sarasota, Florida.
It was initially reported that Laundrie went for the “hike” on September 14 but the time frame appears to have been revised.
Steve Bertolino, who is representing the Laundrie family, said in a statement: “The Laundries were basing the date Brian left on their recollection of certain events.”
“After consulting with the FBI and confirming the day Brian’s Mustang was found and returned to the Laundries’ home, Bertolino wrote, “We now believe the day Brian left to hike in the preserve was Monday, September 13."
ON THE HUNT
The search to find Laundrie has entered its third week and no traces of the 23-year-old have so far been found.
Law enforcement continues to scour the Carlton Reserve while Dog the Bounty Hunter conducts his own probe in Fort De Soto Park, where Laundrie went camping with his parents shortly before vanishing.
Having previously scaled back their efforts at Carlton Reserve, police activity appeared to be ramped up on Wednesday morning.
As reported by WFLA, several unmarked law enforcement SUVs were seen heading into the Venice side of the reserve at around 10.30pm ET.
A large drone is also being used to scour the park from above.
Elsewhere in the county, police in North Carolina have reportedly responded to a dozen alleged sightings of Brian Laundrie near the Appalachian Trail, where he and Gabby had previously visited.
One tipster told police he was "99.99 percent sure" he'd encountered the fugitive fiance of Petito.
"I’m telling you — it was him,” Dennis Davis, 53, told a 911 dispatcher at just after 2:30am on Saturday.
He continued: "He was talking wild. He said that his girlfriend left him and he had to go out to California to see her.
“He was acting funny. And I wasn’t sure what he looked like. And then … I went and parked and pulled up the photographs of him. And I’m 99.99 per cent sure that was him.”
Davis said he encountered the man he believes to be Laundrie in a parking lot along the Appalachian Trail.
Laundrie was allegedly driving a white pickup truck and motioned at him to approach.
“It wasn’t like an old beater. It was a newer truck," he said of the vehicle.
Laundrie is not currently considered a suspect in Gabby's murder but is considered a person of interest.
He does, however, have a warrant out for his arrest on bank fraud allegations after allegedly racking up $1,000 in charges on a debit card that's believed to have belonged to Gabby.
Law enforcement is still searching Carlton Reserve for traces of Laundrie, while TV star Dog the Bounty Hunter is scouring Fort De Soto.
Gabby Petito timeline
Gabby Petito, 22, was last seen on August 24, leaving a hotel in Utah. Here is a timeline of Gabby Petito’s disappearance:
- June 2021 – Gabby Petito and her fiancé Brian Laundrie set off on a cross-country trip across the US.
- July 4 – Gabby posts photos of herself barefoot in Gove County, Kansas.
- July 8 – Gabby posts photos of herself at the Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado.
- July 18 – Gabby and Brian post photos of themselves at Utah's Zion National Park.
- August 12 – Body camera footage was released in September showing an encounter Brian and Gabby had with police in Utah. Police confirmed that no significant injuries were reported.
- August 19 – Gabby and Brian post a video on their YouTube channel chronicling their trip.
- August 24 – Gabby is spotted leaving a hotel in Salt Lake City, Utah.
- August 25 – Gabby Facetimes her mom, Nichole Schmidt, for the final time. In a later police report, Schmidt said her conversations with her daughter revealed "more and more tension" between her and Brian.
- August 25 – Gabby also posts her last Instagram. No location is given.
- August 27 – Gabby is seen for what's believed to be the final time. Witnesses claim they saw Brian in an explosive argument with staff at a restaurant in Jackson Hole, leaving Gabby in tears.
- August 27 – Four hours later, travel bloggers driving through Grand Teton National Park drive past the couple's van "abandoned" on a dirt road.
- September 1 – Brian returns home to Florida without Gabby.
- September 11 – Gabby's parents report her missing to Suffolk County police.
- September 14 – Brian's family issues a statement saying he has retained an attorney and will not be cooperating with investigators.
- September 14 – Brian is allegedly last seen by his family. He reportedly told them he was going hiking in Cartlon Reserve but failed to return.
- September 15 – Florida's North Port police announce Brian is a person of interest in the case. He is not charged with any crime.
- September 16 – Utah police release body camera footage of the police encounter with Brian and Gabby.
- September 17 – Brian's parents say they have not seen their son in a couple of days and report him missing.
- September 18 – Police announce they were searching Carlton Reserve in Florida for Brian. Police announce they have not found anything.
- September 19 – Authorities in Wyoming say they found a body in Grand Teton National Park. The FBI announces the body was believed to be Gabby's but a full forensic identification needs to be completed first to confirm.
- September 20 – Police execute a search warrant on Laundrie's home, seizing his silver Mustang and a hard drive that may contain "evidence relevant to proving that a felony has been committed."
- September 21 – Officials announce they will be conducting an autopsy on the remains found in Wyoming to confirm whether or not they belong to Gabby. Police also resumed their search for Laundrie, this time on the Venice side of Carlton Reserve.
- September 21 – The FBI announced the body found in Wyoming was identified as Gabby's. The cause of death was not yet revealed.
- September 21 – The Teton County Coroner's office said Gabby's official cause of death was still pending but the initial manner of death is homicide.
- September 22 – Police continue to scour Carlton Reserve for a trace of Laundrie but yield no leads. A specialist dive team is called in to assist with the hunt.
- September 23 – Officials announced a federal arrest warrant for Brian was issued.
- September 26 – Gabby's funeral was held on Long Island, New York.
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