Gabby Petito’s mother says she forgives Brian Laundrie, but not his mother

Gabby Petito’s mother has forgiven her killer, but his parents have not.

While speaking at CrimeCon 2024 on Friday, May 31, about her late daughter — who was found strangled in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park in September 2021 — Nicole Schmidt shared messages with both Brian Laundrie and his mother.

“I speak for myself here when I say Brian, I forgive you,” Schmidt said at the convention in Nashville, admitting that the gesture “might shock most people.”

“I had to free myself from the chains of anger and bitterness,” she continued. “And I refuse to let your despicable act define the rest of my life.”

However, speaking about Brian’s parents, Roberta and Christopher Laundrie, Schmidt claimed they were “complicit in his cowardly flight from justice” and said their actions had “added salt to her wounds.”

“As for you, Roberta – and I mention you individually because you are clearly the mastermind who shattered your family and your mind with your evil ways – I see no empathy in your eyes, no remorse in your heart and no willingness to take responsibility for your actions,” Schmidt said.

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie.

Find Gabby/Facebook

‘You are the darkness. You’re the sociopath everyone fears. The one who seems so innocent and kind, but harbors darkness in your soul,” she continued. “You don’t deserve forgiveness. You deserve to be forgotten and dehumanized. embodies pure evil.”

Schmidt also told the CrimeCon crowd that she and Gabby’s father, Joseph Petito, “were denied the opportunity to confront our daughter’s killer and look him in the eye.”

They never confronted Brian — who was in a relationship with Gabby at the time of her murder — in court because he died by suicide, an attorney for the Laundrie family announced in November 2021.

On October 20, 2021, partial human remains of Brian were discovered at Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park – near his last known location.

Prior to his death, he had abandoned his and Gabby’s cross-country road trip and returned alone to his parents’ home in Florida on September 1. Ten days later he was reported missing.

In January 2022, the FBI determined that Brian was responsible for Gabby’s death, stating that he wrote a confession in his notebook before killing himself.

Two months after the FBI’s investigation concluded, Schmidt and Joseph filed a civil lawsuit against Roberta and Christopher, claiming knowledge of Gabby’s murder and the location of her deceased body.

Brian Laundrie’s mother, Roberta Laundrie. /

The families reached a settlement in the lawsuit — which sought damages for the mental anguish Schmidt and Joseph suffered as a result of the laundries’ alleged deception — in February 2024 before it went to trial.

Want to stay up to date with the latest crime coverage? Sign up for PEOPLE’s free True Crime newsletter for breaking crime news, ongoing trial coverage and details of intriguing unsolved cases.

Schmidt concluded her May 30 CrimeCon speech with a tribute to her daughter, who she said was and continues to be “a bright light in this world, full of love, compassion and limitless potential.”

“We will continue to honor her memory, cherish the moments we shared and fight tirelessly for justice and change in her name,” she said. “May Gabby’s legacy serve as a beacon of hope in the world that desperately needs light, hope for a future where such senseless violence and injustice are eradicated from our society.”

Schmidt added, “I beg of all of you, live by these simple words straight from Gabby: Just be a nicer person.”

Back To Top