The murder of Gabrielle Petito took national headlines by storm. It’s a story we’ve sadly seen time and time again. Yet still, it’s never one we can or should grow used to. Gabby was a 22-year-old travel vlogger documenting life with her fiancé Brian Laundrie and had hopes of turning her passion for exploration into a full-time job.
Media pundits turned the case into the subject of fascination. It was unique from other cases like it because her online presence offered a rare, unfiltered look into her life. Even with her life cut short, it didn’t stop her from touching the hearts of millions who felt their own personal connection with her.
Gabby is survived by her parents, Joseph Petito, Nichole Schmidt, and her sibling, TJ Schmidt. Join us while we look back on the life and impact left by Gabby Petito while ranking the Petito siblings from oldest to youngest.
2. Gabby Petito (March 19, 1999 – Between August 27, 2021 and September 19, 2021)
Born: Blue Point, New York
Occupation: Pharmacy Technician, Nutritionist, Traveler
Known For: Social Media/Murder Case
Gabby Petito was the eldest and beloved 22-year-old daughter of Nichole and Joseph Petito. She was born in Blue Point, New York, and engaged to her fiancé and travel companion, Brian Laundrie. She had a Youtube channel called Nomadic Statik.
In 2017, Gabby graduated from Bayport-Blue Point High School, where she met her future fiancé for the first time. Two years later, she started dating Brian and left her job as a hostess in North Carolina to live with him and his parents in North Port, Florida.
The beginnings of their relationship were typical of what you’d expect of a young couple in their honeymoon phase. Filled with the zest for life and a desire to explore the world waiting for them, they purchased a van, converted it into a camper, and took a cross-country trip.
They both worked to make ends meet, embracing the mobile camper lifestyle as they continued to enjoy their youth and make memories together.
As with so many relationships, sometimes something sinister is hidden under the thin external veil. For Gabby and Brian, that was the case, but you would never know by the inviting smiles they presented to the camera. On August 12, 2021, police responded to a witness’s claim that the couple had been fighting in front of a grocery store in Utah, which escalated into physical violence.
What followed was footage taken via an officer’s police body camera during their traffic stop of the couple. Gabby and Brian downplayed the altercation initially, but when pressed, she explained the injuries on her face as a result of a fight at the wheel. She even said that she struck Laundrie first, which started the altercation.
Ultimately, they were separated, and he spent a night at a motel in Moab. Petito stayed at a hotel near Salt Lake City International, checking out on August 24th, while Brian had gone back to Florida on the 17th.
The couple reconciled and reunited and continued their trip. But tensions worsened, and several concerning reports made by bystanders and restaurant staff came out during the investigation.
One witness claimed that on August 27th, Brian was aggressive toward the staff at a Tex-Mex in Wyoming. Another witness contacted the FBI and reported a suspicious, slow-moving white van with a man “acting weird” near a campsite.
On September 11th, Nichole Petito (mother) was understandably concerned after not hearing from her daughter since late August and filed a missing person report. In less than a week, Brian was named a person of interest. The media frenzy quickly followed.
On the 19th, her remains were discovered near the Wyoming campsite he was seen behaving suspiciously. Law enforcement confirmed her death was by strangulation and blunt-force injuries to her head and neck. Her death occurred three to four weeks before she was found.
Even though Nichole and Joseph found their daughter, closure was still yet to be had. That’s because Brian’s whereabouts were unknown, and his parents weren’t cooperative with the police, leading to rumors, conspiracy, and speculation about their involvement in the murder.
The full attention of the police force turned to Brian, and on September 23rd, the United States District Court for the District of Wyoming issued an arrest warrant for Laundrie for illegal use of her debit card after withdrawing $1,000 between August 30th and September 1st.
Volunteers from Sarasota, including Brian’s father, joined investigators in their search for his son at the T. Mabry Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County, Florida. On October 20th, his skeletal remains appeared in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park. His cause of death was suicide due to a self-inflicted gunshot to the head.
Brian’s remains weren’t all that was left with him where he died. In January 2022, it was confirmed beyond a shadow of a doubt that he had killed Gabby when the FBI revealed they discovered a confession in his notebook, including texts he sent from her phone to cover up the murder.
The contents of the note state that his reason for killing her was because of injuries she sustained while crossing a creek and that he wanted to relieve her from her suffering.
Experts unsurprisingly dispute his claims because they contradict the actual findings. Michael Alcazar of John Jay College of Criminal Justice dismissed Laundrie as “Someone who doesn’t want to own up to what he did. He’s trying to find justification for the actions he did.”
Did You Know?
Gabby’s funeral was held in Long Island, New York, with friends and family coming to say their final goodbye to their beloved friend, daughter, and sister. Gabby had the phrase “Let it be” tattooed on her arm, based on a poem handed out on a prayer card given to attendees.
A portion of it reads, “Perhaps my time seemed too brief. Do not lengthen it with undue grief. Lift up your hearts and share with me the memories that will always be.”
To see pictures of Gabby Petito click here.
1. TJ Schmidt
View this post on Instagram
In various outlets, there’s mention of several step-siblings that Gabby Petito had the pleasure of calling family. Despite no information being available about them online, she did have one sibling that stands as the only one that shares the same mother and father.
TJ Schmidt is the younger brother of Gabby Petito. In the wake of his sister’s disappearance, TJ was vocal in his determination to find his sister.
Following her death, he expressed his sadness while honoring her life by sharing a picture of him releasing floating sky lanterns on his Instagram – @schmidt_happens_77.
On his page, you’ll find dozens of pictures of his sister, eulogizing her life and the impact she had on him and everyone else she touched.
Did You Know?
He wrote underneath his picture of floating lanterns: “Lighting up the sky for you Gabs! Love you forever!” As recently as June 5th, 2022, he posted a picture of Gabby perfectly placed between a mural of two angel wings. It’s clear the two had a close relationship. TJ currently as over 49k followers on Instagram and nearly 4k on TikTok.