Audience 'Shocked' at Remarks by Gabby Petito's Mom

Nichole Schmidt tells CrimeCon crowd she forgives Brian Laundrie, but that his mother is 'evil'
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 1, 2024 9:00 AM CDT
Audience 'Shocked' at Remarks by Gabby Petito's Mom
Gabby Petito's mother, Nichole Schmidt, is seen during an interview with the AP on Aug. 1, 2022, in New York.   (AP Photo/Julia Nikhinson, File)

The mother of Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old believed to have been killed in the summer of 2021 by her fiance, Brian Laundrie, showed up at CrimeCon this week, and Fox News describes an audience "shocked" at what she had to say. "I speak for myself here when I say Brian, I forgive you," Nichole Schmidt told a filled auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee. "I needed to release myself from the chains of anger and bitterness, and I refuse to let your despicable act define the rest of my life."

One person Schmidt isn't giving absolution to, however: Laundrie's mom, Roberta Laundrie, whom Schmidt and other members of her family believe knew about Petito's murder and helped her son cover it up and flee from the law before he took his own life in Florida. "You do not deserve forgiveness," Schmidt said of Roberta Laundrie. "You deserve to be forgotten." Petito's mother called Roberta Laundrie "the mastermind that shattered your family and mine with your evil ways," adding, "I see no empathy in your eyes. No remorse in your heart and no willingness to take responsibility for your actions."

Tara Petito, Gabby Petito's stepmom, also spoke at CrimeCon, and she wasn't quite as ready to forgive Brian Laundie. "Only someone with true evil in their heart would do such a thing," she said of the late Laundrie's behavior after Gabby Petito was killed, including going on a camping trip with his parents, sister, and her kids, per Fox. In February, both Petito's family and Brian Laundrie's family "reluctantly" reached a settlement over the Petito family's claims of intentional infliction of emotional distress on the part of the Laundries. The details of the deal were kept under wraps. (More Gabby Petito stories.)

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