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‘They’re cowards’: Gabby Petito’s father slams Laundrie family and says he believes Brian is hiding

Gabby Petito’s father has labeled the Laurdrie family ‘cowards’ in a new Dr. Phil interview – as the the search for ‘person of interest’ Brian enters its third week.

Joe Petito launched the scathing attack against the Laundries during a pre-tapped interview which airs today, saying he believed Brian was still alive because ‘he is too cowardly to kill himself’. 

Furious Petito then raged against Brian’s parents Chris and Roberta who are holed up in their North Port, Florida home as daily protests against their perceived dishonesty carry on outside. 

‘Anyone who lived in that house is a coward, said Petito, justifying that by saying ‘they don’t know how to stand up for their actions’. 

Gabby Petito’s family went on Dr. Phil on Tuesday and called out Brian Laundrie’s family. Pictured from L-R: step-mother Tara Petito, father Joe Petito, step-father James Schmidt, mother Nicole Schimdit

Joe Petito called Chirs and Roberta Laundrie, pictured, cowards for avoiding his family

Joe Petito called Chirs and Roberta Laundrie, pictured, cowards for avoiding his family

Gabby Petito, right, and Brian Laundrie, were on a cross-country van trip when went missing on Aug. 24. Brian was the key person on interest and went missing himself on September 17

Gabby Petito, right, and Brian Laundrie, were on a cross-country van trip when went missing on Aug. 24. Brian was the key person on interest and went missing himself on September 17

Joe and Nicole Schmidt said they had tried calling and texting the Laundries multiple times, asking for their daughters whereabouts to no avail. 

‘It’s infuriating, Nicole said. 

Joe added, ‘We actually thought that they were both missing at that time.’ 

In one of the text messages, Joe said ‘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.’

Gabby’s step-father, James Schmidt, also revealed that he was the one to identify Gabby’s body, which was found in the Grand Teton National Park, in Wyoming, last month. 

Schmidt said that when the body was found on September 19, police showed him an article of clothing that he matched as one of her favorite sweatshirts from a local New York shop.  

‘We knew it was hers,’ Schmidt said.  

Schmidt was in Wyoming to help search for his missing step-daughter and set up a memorial for her at the site when it was confirmed that her body was found there. 

The second part of Dr. Phil’s interview with the family will air tomorrow. 

Gabby's step-father, James Schimdt (left), said he had helped identify Gabby's body

Gabby’s step-father, James Schimdt (left), said he had helped identify Gabby’s body 

Timeline of missing Gabby Petito’s case

  • July 1: Gabby Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie left Blue Point, New York for a cross-country road trip
  • August 12: Police in Moab, Utah respond to a domestic incident involving the couple
  • Aug. 21: Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, has his last FaceTime video call with his daughter who was in Salt Lake City, Utah 
  • Aug. 24: Petito is last seen at a hotel in Salt Lake City with Laundrie
  • Aug. 25: Petito makes final call to her mother, Nicole Schmidt, saying she was in Grand Teton National Park
  • Aug. 25 or 26: The couple chats with the owner of a shop called ‘Rustic Row’ in Victor, Utah for about 20 minutes 
  • Aug. 27: Video of Petito’s van was taken by blogger Jenn Bethune, of Red White & Bethune, around 6.30 pm at the Spread Creek Campground
  • Aug. 29: The day that Wisconsin TikToker Miranda Baker claimed that she and her boyfriend were approached by Laundrie at Grand Teton National Park and asked them for a ride at 5.30pm; Schmidt says she is not entertaining this claim and believes it possibly factual
  • Aug. 30: Schmidt receives the last text from Petito: ‘No service in Yosemite’
  • Sept. 1: Laundrie returns to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida in a van without Petito
  • Sept. 6-7: Laundrie and his parents visit Fort De Soto campsite in Florida
  • Sept. 11: Schmidt reports Petito missing to authorities in New York; Petito and Laundrie’s van was impounded by police in Florida that same day
  • Sept. 12: Grand Teton National Park rangers search for Petito
  • Sept. 14: Laundrie issues a statement about Petito’s disappearance through his lawyer; Also on this day, Laundrie allegedly left his parents’ home for a hike
  • Sept. 15: Laundrie is officially named a person of interest in Petito’s case
  • Sept. 17: Laundrie family attorney confirms his whereabouts are unknown
  • Sept. 18: North Port police and the FBI start searching the Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County for missing Brian Laundrie
  • Sept. 19: Bethune realizes she has video of Petito’s van around 12am and submits the FBI with the footage 10 minutes later; Officials announce a body was found near Grand Teton National Park that matched Petito’s description in the afternoon
  • Sept. 21: Coroner confirms remains found in Grand Tetons belong to Petito. Her death is ruled a homicide but her cause of death is still under invesetigation
  • Sept. 20 – 22: FBI and North Port police continue search for Laundrie in Carton Reserve 
  • Sept. 22: Neighbors say they saw the Laudrie family pack up their detached camper on the day Gabby was reported missing. DailyMail.com photos show the camper was back in the driveway two days later, on September 13 
  • Sept. 23: FBI issues an arrest warrant for Laundrie for ‘use of unauthorized access device’ for fraudulently using a Capitol One Bank debit card that was not his between August 30 and September 1 to spend $1,000; A probe is launched into the police handling of the Utah police incident on Aug. 12; Laundrie’s parents visit their attorney in Orlando 
  • Sept. 25: Dog the Bounty Hunter joins the search for Laundrie 
  • Sept. 26: A funeral is held for Petito in Holbrook, New York, and her family launch a charity to help parents find missing children 
  • Sept. 27: Manhunt for Laundrie in the Carlton Reserve is scaled back after 10 day search doesn’t find him. Dog the Bounty Hunter says Laundrie and his parents stayed at Fort De Soto Park from September 1-3 and September 6-8 – and that on the latter visit only the parents left 
  • Sept. 28: Laundrie’s mom is accused of using a burner phone to contact her son Sept. 29: Documents reveal Laundrie’s mom canceled a reservation for the Fort De Soto Park campsite for two from September 1 to 3 and booked for three from September 6 to 8; FBI seizes surveillance footage from site; FBI investigates lead Laundrie bought a burner phone on September 14; Dog the Bounty Hunter searches the area near Fort De Soto finding a recently drunk can of Monster Energy at a makeshift campsite deep in the woods 
  • Sept. 30: Bodycam footage from a second officer at the August 12 incident is released showing a distressed Petito admitting Laundrie hit her; FBI agents collect more evidence from the Laundrie home 
  • Oct. 1: It emerges Laundrie’s sister had contact with him after she said she did 

The family’s interview comes as Brian Laundrie’s sister, Cassie, spoke to Good Morning America on Tuesday, urging him to ‘come forward’ and telling her parents to ‘come clean’ if they are involved in his disappearance. 

She added, ‘No I don’t know where Brian is. …I’d turn him in.’ 

Cassie told ABC’s GMA she wished her brother had come to her first when he returned to North Port, Florida, without Petito on September 1.

‘I really wish he had come to me first that day with the van because I don’t think we’d be here,’ she said.

Cassie said she is feeling a mix of emotions as her brother is still on the run after more than two weeks while Petito’s death is being investigated as a homicide.

‘I worry about him, I hope he’s ok and I’m angry I don’t know what to think,’ she said.

‘I would tell my brother to just come forward and get us out of this horrible mess.’

Cassie told ABC’s GMA she doesn’t know ‘what to think’ about what happened on the young couple’s doomed cross-country trip but wished her brother had come to her first when he returned to North Port, Florida, without Petito on September 1.

While she insisted she had nothing to do with Laundrie’s disappearance, she admitted she wasn’t so sure about her parents Christopher and Roberta Laundrie who she urged to cooperate with investigators.

 ‘I don’t know if my parents are involved,’ said Cassie. ‘I think if they are, then they should come clean.’

Brian Laundrie's sister Cassie has urged her fugitive brother to 'come forward' and turn himself in, saying she doesn't know 'what to think' happened on his doomed cross-country trip

Brian Laundrie’s sister Cassie has urged her fugitive brother to ‘come forward’ and turn himself in, saying she doesn’t know ‘what to think’ happened on his doomed cross-country trip

Cassie first broke ranks and spoke out on Monday, saying she ‘didn’t know’ if her fugitive brother had murdered his girlfriend Gabby Petito and claimed that their parents refuse to talk to her.

Chris and Roberta Laundrie had been initially reluctant to cooperate with the investigation regarding the missing Gabby until Brian went missing on September 17. 

Cassie also said she is ‘livid’ at her parent’s lawyer Steve Bertolino, who told the press Friday that Cassie saw her brother twice since Gabby’s disappearance – on September 1 and 6 – despite her previously telling ABC’s Good Morning America, ‘I haven’t been able to talk to him. I wish I could talk to him.’ 

Cassie was seen confronting a group of protesters, which had rallied outside her home since Bertolino’s statement three days ago and interrogated her about them on October 4. 

‘I am losing my parents and my brother and my children’s aunt and my future sister-in-law on top of this and you’re not helping,’ Cassie told them. 

Cassie Laundrie refused to defend her brother Brian's innocence in the murder of Gabby Petito and claimed that their parents refuse to speak with her. She is seen above with her husband James Luycx in an interview with protesters outside her home on October 4

Cassie Laundrie refused to defend her brother Brian’s innocence in the murder of Gabby Petito and claimed that their parents refuse to speak with her. She is seen above with her husband James Luycx in an interview with protesters outside her home on October 4

She spoke to protesters who remained outside her house since the lawyer's statements, which contradicted media reports that Cassie hadn't seen Brian. Above, Brian and Petito were in an Instagram photo on their cross-country trip on June 26

She spoke to protesters who remained outside her house since the lawyer’s statements, which contradicted media reports that Cassie hadn’t seen Brian. Above, Brian and Petito were in an Instagram photo on their cross-country trip on June 26

A protester asked Cassie if she thinks her parents were involved in Gabby’s death, to which she said, ‘I don’t know. We have literally been finding out everything from the news like everyone else.’ 

Asked if she would you like your brother to turn himself in, Cassie says, ‘Of course.’

She also defended the fact she had seen her brother on his return from his and Petito’s campervan adventure, claiming she ‘didn’t pick up on anything’ and they were just ‘ordinary’ visits – despite Petito not being present and her brother not being expected to return home for at least another month.

Cassie said her brother and parents had stopped by the home she shares with her husband and two sons for an ‘ordinary’ visit on September 1 – the day he returned.

She then saw him for a second – and last – time on September 6 when she visited him and their parents at Fort De Soto Park, where the trio were camping.

‘We just went for a couple of hours and we ate dinner and had s’mores around the campfire and left, and there was nothing peculiar about it,’ she said.

‘There was no feeling of grand goodbye. There was no nothing.’

‘I’m frustrated that, in hindsight, I didn’t pick up on anything,’ she added, insisting ‘it was just a regular visit.’

At one point, she is asked, ‘Based on all the stuff on the Internet, do you think that Brian killed Gabby?’

‘I don’t know,’ she says.

Cassie also said that she has never seen Brian hit Gabby or act violently toward women.   

Dispatch audio from the Moab Police Department, in Utah, revealed that Gabby and Brian had been in a fight on August 12, with police being told that Brian hit Gabby.  

Joe spoke out against domestic violence on Monday in a photo tribute of his late daughter.

He posted a photo of Gabby walking on the boardwalk holding two young boys’ hands, with the caption: ‘We have to do better. Changes are coming. Now is the time. Don’t be silent.’

It was hashtagged #domesticviolence and #domesticviolenceawareness.

In an Instagram post on Monday, Joseph Petito encouraged people to speak out about domestic violence

In an Instagram post on Monday, Joseph Petito encouraged people to speak out about domestic violence

He had previously tweeted that people have reached out to him to share that they have been inspired by her his daughter's tragic death to prep before leaving their abusive relationships

He had previously tweeted that people have reached out to him to share that they have been inspired by her his daughter’s tragic death to prep before leaving their abusive relationships

The post comes just a few days after he tweeted that people have reached out to him to share that they have been inspired by her his daughter’s tragic death to make preparations before leaving their abusive relationships.

‘She is already saving lives,’ he posted on Saturday. ‘So many stories being sent to us about relationships being left with proper planning for safety, and people are being found due to her influence. We have much more work to do, but it’s a start.’

Meanwhile, the nationwide manhunt for Laundrie continues, as authorities resumed their search of the nature preserve his parents claim he visited, and reality television star Dog the Bounty Hunter searches the Fort de Soto campsite on an island called Egmont Key, off the coast of St. Petersburg, Florida.

They had previously discovered a used campsite and a discarded can of Monster energy drink on the island, and on Sunday night, his team confirmed that it has handed over evidence to authorities they hope will prove Laundrie was there.

The FBI is examining surveillance footage from the Fort De Soto Park campsite. A map shows the campsite's location to the Laundrie family home and the Carlton Reserve where authorities have focused their search and Laundrie's parents say he was headed

The FBI is examining surveillance footage from the Fort De Soto Park campsite. A map shows the campsite’s location to the Laundrie family home and the Carlton Reserve where authorities have focused their search and Laundrie’s parents say he was headed  

North Port police continued their search of the expansive Carlton Reserve in Sarasota, Florida on Monday

North Port police continued their search of the expansive Carlton Reserve in Sarasota, Florida on Monday

Laundrie's parents said he went missing on September 14, when he said he was going for a walk at the nature preserve near their house

Laundrie’s parents said he went missing on September 14, when he said he was going for a walk at the nature preserve near their house 

The FBI is also getting involved in the search at the campsite, as the nationwide manhunt extends into another week, with many people reporting potential sightings of Brian Laundrie throughout the country.

‘The public has to be patient, and that can be hard to do in the time where we have feeling where we think we can be more helpful,’ Michelle Jenis, an assistant professor at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette’s Department of Criminal Justice who specializes in missing persons told CNN.

‘We’re all just looking for red flags,’ she said, ‘and they could be meaningless.’

EXCLUSIVE: ‘He wasn’t all there.’ Hiker shows where he was stopped by Brian Laundrie on the Appalachian Trail and tells how his ‘heart dropped’ when he realized he came face-to-face with the man suspected of killing Gabby Petito in first video interview

The hiker who claims to have spoken to Brian Laundrie on the Appalachian Trial has told DailyMail.com how his ‘heart dropped’ when he realized he had come face-to-face with the man suspected of killing Gabby Petito.

Dennis Davis, 53, says he was stopped by Laundrie around 12.30am Saturday morning on a deserted road near the Tennessee/North Carolina border – 700 miles away from where the 23-year-old fugitive was last seen near his home in North Point, Florida.

Showing DailyMail.com where he encountered Laundrie in his first video interview, Davis said he didn’t realize it was him at first, until about 15 minutes later when he pulled up a photo of him, saw the matching beard and mustache and immediately dialed 911 and the FBI.

‘When I first saw him I kind of thought he was on drugs because he was acting weird,’ Davis told DailyMail.com of their interaction, adding that Laundrie spoke of heading to California to see his ‘girlfriend’.

‘But as I thought about it, I don’t necessarily think he was on drugs because he was talking very clearly. And that’s when I thought, after a month of hiding out, after killing someone that you supposedly love, it’s got to be wearing on him,’ he said.

Hiker Dennis Davis, 53, said he encountered Brian Laundrie on a deserted road close to the trail near to the Tennessee border early Saturday morning

Hiker Dennis Davis, 53, said he encountered Brian Laundrie on a deserted road close to the trail near to the Tennessee border early Saturday morning

Brian Laundrie, 23, who was reported missing on September 14, remains a person of interest in the disappearance and death of fiancée Gabby Petito

Brian Laundrie, 23, who was reported missing on September 14, remains a person of interest in the disappearance and death of fiancée Gabby Petito

Davis claims he had an encounter with Brian Laundrie in the early hours of Saturday morning, weeks after the fugitive boyfriend of slain Gabby Petito was last seen in Florida

Davis claims he had an encounter with Brian Laundrie in the early hours of Saturday morning, weeks after the fugitive boyfriend of slain Gabby Petito was last seen in Florida

Davis, a father-of-four and engineer from Florida, is an avid hiker and was on his fourth hike of the Appalachian Trail of the year when he came across ‘Laundrie’.

It was 12.30am and Davis was in his car, planning to sleep in a parking lot near the Davenport Gap before meeting a friend the next day.

He says he was making a K-turn when a white or silver pick-up truck came up behind him and flashed its lights to signal him to go ahead.

Dennis Davis, pictured, says he saw Brian Laundrie on a deserted trail along the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina in the early hours of Saturday morning

Dennis Davis, pictured, says he saw Brian Laundrie on a deserted trail along the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina in the early hours of Saturday morning 

When he passed by the pick-up, the man inside rolled down his window and waved to get his attention.

Davis said, ‘When we first stopped and were across from each other, it took him a minute to say something. And then he said, ”Man, I’m lost.”’

Davis said he thought the man was a hiker and asked where he was heading.

He claims Laundrie said, ‘Man, I’ve got to get to California. My girlfriend and I got in a fight and she called me and she told me she loves me but I got to go to California to see her.’

Davis responded: ‘Well I-40 is right there you could literally take I-40 all the way there to California.’

He says Laundrie shook his head and said, ‘No, I’m just gonna take this road to California.’

‘He was dead serious. He was obviously kind of out of his mind. He wasn’t laughing. He was like ”that’s what I’m doing” and left,’ Davis said.

The hiker said that the route Laundrie planned to take is a small two lane country road called Waterville Road, and wouldn’t lead him to California.

Davis originally planned to sleep in that area but said he feared that the mysterious man would come back and could harm him.

‘I thought he was on drugs. After seeing him I thought there’s no way I’m staying here, if this guy comes back he might want to do something bad. So I took off. I got back on I-40 and headed west and it kind of hit me…what if that was Brian Laundrie?’ he said.

The Appalachian Trail is familiar to Laundrie, who lived there on on his own for about three months.

'When we were talking our cars were parked side by side a nd he kept on looking forward, he didn't look at me very much. After I talked to the FBI, I was looking at other pictures of him and I saw a profile view and when that profile view came up my heart literally dropped,' Davis said

‘When we were talking our cars were parked side by side a nd he kept on looking forward, he didn’t look at me very much. After I talked to the FBI, I was looking at other pictures of him and I saw a profile view and when that profile view came up my heart literally dropped,’ Davis said 

He said he didn't realize it was Laundrie at first, until he looked up a photo 15 minutes later and then was adamant it was him

He said he didn’t realize it was Laundrie at first, until he looked up a photo 15 minutes later and then was adamant it was him 

Davis said he got off at the first exit and began looking up photos of Laundrie online, because he wasn’t sure exactly what he looked like.

‘The thing that stood out when I saw Brian was he had this really dark beard and moustache, very thick but short. I saw the photos and I knew it was him. I immediately started looking for the FBI number,’ he said.

‘When we were talking, our cars were parked side by side and he kept on looking forward, he didn’t look at me very much. After I talked to the FBI, I was looking at other pictures of him and when that profile view came up my heart literally dropped.’

Davis said it was there that he had ‘no doubt in my mind’ that the man he had spoken to was Brian Laundrie.

‘I’ve never seen a murderer face-to-face,’ he said. ‘I was ready to go catch the guy. I made six calls to law enforcement.’

‘What I noticed about him in the photos is he’s bald,’ Davis said. ‘ I couldn’t tell because he had a bandana or shirt wrapped around his head. I only saw the top portion of his body. It looked like he had a t-shirt on with his sleeves cut off. It was a dark color.

‘He looked fairly well kept. He looked thoroughly clean and well kept. The incident itself was pretty short and sweet,’ he added.

Davis said Laundrie was ‘nice in the fact that he didn’t have anything bad to say, he didn’t act aggressive, but you could tell he wasn’t all there.’

‘There was something wrong with him, Davis said. ‘I was almost gonna ask him if he was okay but at that point I was more worried about getting out of there.

Davis, a father-of-four and engineer from Florida, is an avid hiker and was on his fourth hike of the Appalachian Trail of the year when he came across Brian Laundrie

Davis, a father-of-four and engineer from Florida, is an avid hiker and was on his fourth hike of the Appalachian Trail of the year when he came across Brian Laundrie

The Appalachian trail runs from Georgia to Main. The Appalachian trail is  familiar to Laundrie who is lived outdoors for on his own for months

The Appalachian trail runs from Georgia to Main. The Appalachian trail is  familiar to Laundrie who is lived outdoors for on his own for months

Davis informed his family and friends of the run-in and his wife reached out to Dog The Bounty Hunter, who joined the search last month and has been mainly looking in a national park in Florida.

Dog’s daughter called Davis and sent him an audio clip to match Laundrie’s voice with the man in the pick-up. Davis said they match.

Davis informed his family and friends of the run-in and his wife reached out to Dog The Bounty Hunter, who joined the search last month and has been mainly searching at a national park in Florida

Davis informed his family and friends of the run-in and his wife reached out to Dog The Bounty Hunter, who joined the search last month and has been mainly searching at a national park in Florida 

Dog called Davis himself Sunday night to hear a first-hand his account of the story.

Davis was initially frustrated that law enforcement hadn’t reached out to him, but he said a North Carolina Sheriff finally called him and told him they were working on his lead.

‘The thing that was the biggest disappointed to me is after six calls no one had got back to me. The detective I spoke to Sunday night, what he told me is I placed the call at 2.30 in the morning and they had someone out on site at 3.05.’

Davis said he was told they investigated the area for nearly an hour and pulled over the only car on the road, even though it wasn’t a pick-up truck. Davis said he believes he was driving a Ford F-150.

‘I felt relieved that they had actually done something,’ he said. ‘But I have not heard directly from the FBI or the Tennessee 911 system.’

Davis was told that he the FBI was willing to talk with him, however, and said he will likely take them up on the offer.

To those who doubt Davis’ account, he said he’s just trying to do the right thing.

‘I ran into him, into Brian, and I really believe that was him. And I thought that it was my civic duty to make the calls to the FBI and to 911 and to follow through with it. To make sure that the Petito family got the due justice they deserve for their daughter,’ Davis said.

Dennis Davis’ 911 call in full

Haywood County 911 what’s the location of your emergency?

Well, I’m on the highway right now but I ran into Brian [Laundrie] just a little while ago.

Ok, where did you see him at?

I was at the parking lot for the Appalachian trial, north side of *reception drops out*

Ok, can you tell me, like, were you at an overlook… are you there?

Hello?

Are you still there?

Yes I am.

Ok, You’re probably going through the gorge so you’ll lose service now and then. So where did you see him at?

On Waterville road.

Ok, just on Waterville or did you see him near a house, did you see a mailbox?

He was driving a truck and I stopped and talked to him.

Ok, was he going up Waterville or back towards 40?

He was going away from 40.

Ok. What color truck?

It was a white truck, I think it was a Ford F-150, I’m not 100% sure of that, and it was a kind of a newer model, it wasn’t like an old beater, it was a newer truck

Ok. What makes you say that it was him?

Well first off, I was making a U-turn in the road and he came up behind me and slowed down and kind of flashed his lights, like, telling me go ahead and go and I’m going to wait for you. And as I turned around and I’m coming back by him he’s waving his arm out of his truck, like, for me to slow down. And I pull up next to him I’m getting ready to go through the tunnel here hold on one second. Can you still hear me?

Yeah.

So when I stopped *reception cuts out*

I think I lost you.

He was talking wild, he said that his girlfriend loved him and he had to go out to California to see her. And he was asking me how to get to California and I said well you can get on I-40 right there and drive west and you’ll get there. And he said no I think I can go this way and kinda left and he was acting funny. I wasn’t sure about what he looked like, and then I went and parked and pulled up the photographs of him and I’m 99.99% sure that was him.

Ok. I’m going to let my sergeant know ok?

Ok.

Can I have your name and phone number? Your phone number? *reception cuts out*

Alright. I’ll meet somebody out there if they want to. I’m telling you it was him.

Ok. Well like I said I’ll pass this along.

Alright, thank you.

Ok, Thank you.

***
Read more at DailyMail.co.uk