Father labels Brian Laundrie and his parents ‘cowards’ in new interview

Gabby Petito’s father has slammed Brian Laundrie and his family as “cowards” in a new interview with Dr Phil.

Joseph Petito revealed he doesn’t think Mr Laundrie has killed himself as he lacked the courage to do so.

“Anyone who lived in that house is a coward,” Mr Petito said, referring to the home in North Port, Florida where Brian’s parents Christopher and Roberta live.

“They don’t know how to stand up for their actions.”

Ms Petito’s father and stepmother Tara Petito, and mother Nichole Schmidt and stepfather Jim Schmidt sat down for their first joint interview with Dr Phil, which will be aired on Tuesday.

From left to right: step-mother Tara Petito, father Joe Petito, step-father James Schmidt, mother Nicole Schimdit

Joseph Petito again called on Mr Laundrie’s parents Chris and Roberta to come forward with what they know.

The family spoke about the excruciating days they spent trying to contact the Laundrie family for news of their daughter after she stopped communicating with them in late August.

Nichole Schmidt said it was “infuriating” that her text messages and calls to Mr Laundrie and his mother Roberta were ignored.

“We actually thought that they were both missing at that time,” Joseph Petito said.

James Schmidt, Gabby’s stepfather, and mother Nichole Schmidt

In one of the text messages, Mr Petito told the Laundries: “I’m going to call the police, just letting you know, because we have no idea.”

“A normal parent when you text someone that (you) are going to call the cops because you can’t find your child, they would reply. No response. Nothing,” he said.

Mr Petito questioned what the Laundrie motives could have been for not helping to find their son.

“We couldn’t find Gabby. We did anything to find Gabby. What did they do to find Brian? I haven’t seen them on any TV shows... find Brian. Why do you think that is.”

Dr Phil responded to say there were two explanations: either Mr Laundrie was dead or his parents didn’t want him found.

Asked if they knew how his daughter had died, Mr Petito told Dr Phil it wasn’t helpful for him to “go down that rabbit hole”.

Mr Petito said her daughter was a responsible adult and had been preparing for the trip with Mr Laundrie for 18 months.

“This is not a 14 year old girl going on a school trip here. So we respected her decisions. All of us tried to best prepare her. She knew what she was doing.”

He said his priority was for something meaningful to come from his daughter’s death.

“She’s gone, and to me, I need to find meaning behind it,” he said.

“I’ve got to find some good, some positive things to come from this.”

Jim Schmidt, who identified Ms Petito from a favourite piece of clothing, said the past few weeks had been like “living in a bad soap opera”.

“You don’t think things like this would happen in real life. It’s unfathomable, it really is. It makes no sense.”

The parents were in agreement that Mr Laundrie was likely alive and living off the land somewhere.

“Somewhere off the beaten path somewhere,  just thinking he’s not gonna get caught,” said Mr Schmidt.

Ms Petito’s mother Nicole Schmidt agreed.

“I believe he bragged about that, like he’s good at that stuff.”

Ms Schmidt said she knew who the last person to see her daughter alive was.

“I’m angry,” she said.