Gabby Petito's Mom Reveals Sad Suspicion About Her Daughter's Relationship With Brian Laundrie

In June 2021, travel blogger Gabby Petito embarked on a journey with her then-boyfriend Brian Laundrie to visit national parks across the United States, per CNN. Petito and Laundrie had been dating since 2019 and had taken long-distance trips in Petito's renovated van. Plus, Petito's parents said they trusted Laundrie after meeting him, so they believed their 22-year-old daughter would be safe with Laundrie as they traveled.

But when family members lost contact with Petito in late August 2021, they immediately launched a search for both Petito and Laundrie. Then, when the internet caught wind of the case, the search for Petito was sent into overdrive with people worldwide trying to figure out if she was still alive. Tragically — after Laundrie fled from the police with alleged help from his family — Petito's body was found on September 19, 2021, in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park, and the cause of death was declared strangulation.

As for Laundrie — after evading the police and escaping to the Carlton Reserve in Florida — he died by suicide and his body was found in October 2021. Laundrie left a confession note before he died, but his version of Petito's death has been majorly called into question. Now, ahead of the one-year anniversary of Petito's murder, her mom, Nichole Schmidt, is reflecting on the tragedy.

Gabby Petito's mother thinks domestic violence happened before

With Brian Laundrie's posthumous confession, the murder case of Gabby Petito is technically closed. Still, that hasn't stopped Nicole Schmidt from revisiting her daughter's relationship, especially concerning what she might not have seen before.

Just weeks before Petito went missing, the couple was questioned by Utah police when a witness saw Laundrie "slapping" Petitio during a fight, per NBC News. A police bodycam recorded both Laundrie and Petito's questioning, and the footage was released to the public. When asked if Schmidt believed the incident in Utah was the first instance of domestic violence in Petitio and Laundrie's relationship, she said, "In hindsight, looking at that? No."

Now, one year after her daughter's death, Schmidt is working with a domestic violence charity to support and raise money for victims. Petito's mom is one of the board members of The Gabby Petito Foundation — established in October 2021 — and donated $100,000 to the National Domestic Violence Hotline in honor of her late daughter and other victims.