GABBY Petito's stepfather has described the moment he knew she was dead.
The 22-year-old vlogger's body was found in Wyoming last month after being reported missing following a road trip with her then-fiancé Brian Laundrie.
Stepfather Jim Schmidt said he realised Gabby had passed away when police told him of a sweartshirt on the body.
Her told Dr Phil: "They described a piece of clothing to me that matched one of her favorite sweatshirts that we knew was hers.
"It was from a local store, so we knew it was hers.”
Both Gabby's divorced parents and her two step-parents took part in the emotional interview.
Her dad Joe Petito branded Laundrie "a coward" after he returned to his family home in Florida before refusing to speak to cops and then vanishing.
Laundrie's parents claim he went hiking on September 14, shortly after being made a "person of interest" in the case, and never returned home.
The FBI has since issued a warrant for his arrest on charges of credit card fraud.
Joe said: “He’s a coward."
Read our Brian Laundrie live blog for the very latest news and updates…
Gabby's mom Nichole added: “Someone needs to start talking.”
"He bragged about it as if he was good at it,” Nichole said when asked if Laundrie had the ability to “live off the earth.”
Gabby and Brian began their cross-country trip in June before he returned home alone on September 1.
The vlogger was then reported missing by her parents on September 11 prompting the Laundrie family to reveal Brian had hired lawyers and would not be cooperating with police.
The FBI are investigating reports of a burner phone bought on the day Laundrie went missing.
A source told TMZ that Brian purchased a phone at the AT&T store on September 14 with an "older woman."
'HE'S A COWARD'
The store said in a statement to The Sun: "We're not confirming or denying anything and we're not making any statements, thank you and have a great day."
The search for Laundrie remains ongoing – weeks after he was reported missing on September 17.
Cops and FBI agents continue to scour the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota although efforts have been scaled back.
Meanwhile, Dog the Bounty Hunter has also joined search efforts as he pledged to find Laundrie before the fugitive’s 24th birthday.
He reportedly found a "makeshift camp" and has turned over "information" to the FBI.
Dog told Fox News: "On Friday we found a makeshift, very primitive camp that had some promising things around it. So we gave gathered up all those things.
"We turned them over yesterday to the FBI. We are now talking to the FBI and working with local law enforcement"
It comes as Laundrie’s sister Cassie revealed she is "not talking to her parents" as she alleges her family has frozen her out over Gabby's disappearance.
HUNT FOR BRIAN
Cassie answered questions about her brother’s whereabouts outside her home in Lakewood Ranch, Florida yesterday.
She told protesters and reporters: “I am losing my parents and my brother and my children’s aunt and my future sister-in-law.”
Cassie also alleged that her family is "freezing" her out, adding: "They’re not talking to us either."
When asked why, Cassie said: "If I knew, I would say, I don't know."
She said that Laundrie didn’t talk about Gabby when she last saw him on September 6.
When asked if Brian mentioned the vlogger, Cassie said: “Nothing came up.”
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.
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The US Sun team?
Email us at [email protected] or call 212 416 4552.
Like us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/TheSunUS and follow us from our main Twitter account at @TheSunUS
Source: Read Full Article