Gabby Petito’s Mother Breaks Her Silence with Touching Post Ahead of Funeral

On Facebook, Nicole Schmidt shared a gracious message to her family’s supporters since her daughter’s mysterious case went viral.

Gabby Petito’s mother is speaking for the first time publicly in almost two weeks. On Facebook, Nicole Schmidt shared a gracious message to her family’s supporters since her daughter’s mysterious case went viral. 

Late Saturday night Schmidt wrote in part, quote, “As I scroll through all the posts, my heart is full of love. I wish I could reach out and hug each and every one of you!!! Your support has been so overwhelming and we are so filled with gratitude.”

Schmidt’s post comes as the family holds a public memorial service for Gabby in Long Island, New York Sunday afternoon, one week after authorities found her 22-year-old daughter’s remains in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Park. 

Gabby’s father, Joseph Petito tweeted earlier Saturday evening the family was establishing The Gabby Petito Foundation. “No one should have to find their child on their own,” he wrote. “We are creating this foundation to give resources and guidance to bringing their children home. We are looking to help people in similar situations as Gabby.”

Brian Laundrie Arrest Warrant Alleges 'Unauthorized Use' of Debit Card Following Death of Gabby Petito

An arrest warrant issued for Brian Laundrie alleges that one of the most wanted men in America spent at least $1,000 using an “unauthorized” Capital One debit card in the days following the death of Gabby Petito, “as per a federal indictment filed in the U.S. District Court of Wyoming,” according to published reports. 

Laundrie is a “person of interest” in the disappearance of the woman he once described as “the love of his life, but on Wednesday he was indicted on a federal charge of  “use of unauthorized access devices,” related to his activities, following the death of Petito, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

The indictment that was issued on Wednesday stated that between the dates of Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, Laundrie used a debit card and a personal identification number that was linked to two Capital One bank accounts withdrawing up to $1,000. The indictment did not indicate whose debit card it was, Fox 13 News reported. 

“While this warrant allows law enforcement to arrest Mr. Laundrie, the FBI and our partners across the country continue to investigate the facts and circumstances of Ms. Petito’s homicide,” FBI Denver Special Agent Michael Schneider said in a statement on Thursday.

“We urge individuals with knowledge of Mr. Laundrie’s role in this matter or his current whereabouts to contact the FBI. No piece of information is too small or inconsequential to support our efforts in this investigation,” he said.

When Inside Edition Digital reached out to Laundrie’s attorney, Steven Bertolino regarding his client’s arrest warrant, he did not respond but told  Fox News: ”It is my understanding that the arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie is related to activities occurring after the death of Gabby Petito and not related to her actual demise. The FBI is focusing on locating Brian and when that occurs the specifics of the charges covered under the indictment will be addressed in the proper forum."

Laundrie has not been named a suspect but is the sole person of interest in the investigation since Petito’s remains were found in a remote area of Wyoming's Bridger-Teton National Forest campsite on Sunday. Two days later, Laundrie’s fiancée's death was ruled a homicide by the Teton County Coroner and the FBIInside Edition Digital previously reported.

On July 1, the couple had set out on a cross-country adventure visiting national parks in the West using the hashtag #VanLife, before Petito disappeared, CNN reported. 

On Sept. 1, Laundrie returned back to his home in North Port, Florida, which he shared with Petito and his parents, with the white, repurposed Ford Transit van he and Petito had been traveling in. 

On Sept. 14, Laundrie’s parents, Chris, 62, and Robert, 55, reportedly told officials that their son had gone on a hike and that was the last time they had spoken to him.  

On Sept. 11, Petito was reported missing by her family. The last time Petito’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, said she had spoken to her daughter was on Aug. 25. Laundrie and his parents had not been cooperating with the investigation.

On Thursday night, a friend of the Laundrie’s told CNN's Chris Cuomo that they were “concerned” that their son might hurt himself. The source reportedly said Laundrie left without his cellphone and wallet.

On Wednesday night, law enforcement officials told 10 Tampa Bay News that crews were flying overnight, using thermal imaging in hopes of spotting any sign of Laundrie, Fox News reported.

Some of the technology being used is known as FLIR, “Forward Looking Infrared,” and is typically used on military and civilian aircraft. It creates an infrared image of a scene without having to “scan” the scene with a moving sensor, which was previously required. Global manufacturer Teledyne FLIR refers to this technology as “the world’s sixth sense.”

Officials said this technology could be critical in the search for Laundrie, Fox News reported.

Earlier in the day, divers were brought in searching the massive wetlands.

Additional agencies assisting the North Port Police and FBI include the Florida Wildlife Commission, Sarasota County Sheriff’s Office, Lee County Sheriff’s Office, Charlotte County Sheriff’s Office, Sarasota Police Department, Venice Police Department, K9 search and rescue teams.

A weekend ground and aerial search on Monday of the massive preserve had yet to yield any answers, and authorities from the North Port Police department stated, “we must press on.”

On Tuesday the hunt for Laundrie included drones, canine units, ATVs. Officials said they were moving in from the Venice side of the area, along with adjoining lands, at the Carlton Reserve, in an area described as a “vast and unforgiving location at times.” 

"It is currently waist-deep in water in many areas. This is dangerous work for the search crews as they are wading through gator and snake-infested swamps and flooded hiking and biking trails,” North Port Police said in a statement.

On the same day, a grainy photo of a man with a backpack and neck tattoo captured on a deer-trail camera near Baker that resembled Laundrie went viral and was shared more than 45,000 times on social media,  Fox13 News reported. 

Deputies from Okaloosa County (OCSO) confirmed that it was a case of “mistaken identity.” Several of the officers recognized the man in the photo. His identity was not revealed; however, they said he was a private citizen, the OCSO Department said in a statement. 

"During its search and investigation, the OCSO found no indications that Brian Laundrie is, or was, in Okaloosa County," the department said.

Authorities describe Laundrie as a white male, five feet, eight inches tall, weighing 160 pounds, with brown eyes, short brown hair, and trimmed facial hair, according to reports.

The FBI is asking anyone who utilized the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area between the dates of August 27-30, 2021, and may have had contact with Petito or Laundrie, or may have seen their vehicle, to contact them at, or by phone to 1-800-CALL-FBI or 303-629-7171. Photos and videos may be uploaded via the FBI’s digital media tipline dedicated to this case: You may also contact your local FBI office, the nearest American Embassy or Consulate.

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