Gabby Petito's mom said her daughter 'died doing what she loved to do'

Gabby Petito's mother, Nichole Schmidt.
Gabby Petito's mother, Nichole Schmidt, speaks during a news conference on Sept. 28, 2021, in Bohemia, New York. John Minchillo/Associated Press
  • Gabby Petito's mom said in a new interview that her daughter "died doing what she loved to do."

  • "She was out there in nature camping. That's what she wanted," Nichole Schmidt said on "Dr. Phil."

  • The emotional mother added, "I am glad that she lived a really good life."

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Gabby Petito's tearful mother said in a newly released interview that her slain daughter "died doing what she loved to do."

"She was out there in nature camping. That's what she wanted. She lived her dream and I am glad she got to do that," Nichole Schmidt said of her 22-year-old daughter during an interview on the "Dr. Phil" show that aired Wednesday afternoon.

The mother added, "I am glad that she lived a really good life."

Schmidt had reported Petito missing to police in New York on September 11 after her family abruptly lost communication with Petito in late August while the young woman was on a "van life" cross-country road trip with her now-missing fiancé, Brian Laundrie.

Authorities have said that Laundrie returned home to Florida on September 1 with the van the couple had been traveling in and without Petito. He quickly retained a lawyer and refused to speak with authorities.

Petito's body was discovered on September 19 in a remote campsite of a Wyoming national forest and her death was later ruled a homicide.

Laundrie, whose family reported him missing on September 17 and is now the subject of an FBI-led manhunt, has been named a person of interest in Petito's disappearance.

During the "Dr. Phil" interview, Schmidt - who was seated alongside her husband, Jim Schmidt, Petito's father, Joseph Petito, and his wife, Tara Petito - called the Utah police body-camera footage showing the aftermath of an August fight her daughter had with Laundrie "a blessing."

"Even though that police video is hard to watch, I think it was a blessing to see that, you know, she's a real human being and she was in pain," Schmidt said.

Utah's Moab Police Department responded to a fight between Laundrie and Petito on August 12.

A visibly distraught Petito and an apparently calm Laundrie told police that they got into an argument in Moab that resulted in Petito slapping Laundrie, according to a police report and officer body-camera footage released by the Moab Police Department.

But in a 911 call about the same incident, a witness can be heard telling dispatchers with the Grand County Sheriff's Office that he saw a man "slapping the girl."

"I was angry because it didn't make any sense," Petito's mother said during the "Dr. Phil" interview about the 911 call.

Joseph Petito said it was too hard for him to listen to the entire audio of the call.

"I couldn't do it," the dad said.

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