Gabby Petito’s parents believe Brian Laundrie is still alive

The parents of Gabby Petito are convinced Brian Laundrie is still alive and accused him of being a “coward” in an interview with Dr Phil McGraw’s show which aired Tuesday.

When asked if they believe Laundrie is 100 per cent out there hiding, Joseph Petito, Gabby’s father responded, “I do.”

“Because he’s a coward. Flat out. I could use some other words, but I can’t use them on your show,” he said, adding, “Anyone that lived in that house is a coward, and they don’t know how to stand up for their actions.”

Along with the family’s attorney Richard Stafford, Joe Petito and Nichole Schmidt, Gabby’s mother and father, and her step-parents, Tara Petito and Jim Schmidt, spoke of the tragic circumstances in which they learned how their daughter’s body was found.

At the time, the four parents were spread in different parts of the country when the FBI told them on Sept. 19 that they “had some information that they wanted to share,” Jim Schmidt recounted.

Mr Schmidt was in Wyoming at the site where Petito’s body was found, Nicole was in New York and Tara and Joe Petito were in Florida.

“We received a call from the FBI about some information they wanted to share with us. The hotel we were in were very gracious to accommodate us and give us the privacy we needed.” Mr Schmidt said, having to relay the news to Nicole, Joe and Tara via a conference call.

“We could see out of the front window and basically I could see one agent come up and come in pretty quickly. Because they wanted to speak to us before it got out and they wanted to make sure that we were notified and that they found remains consistent with Gabby before we heard it from anybody else,” he said. “They described the piece of clothing to me that matched one of her favourite sweaters that we knew was hers,” Mr Schmidt said.

“There were four other people missing at the same time. There was another girl out there who closely matched the description of Gabby and that’s why they wanted to be careful about saying we found remains before the coroner could positively identify,” Mr Schmidt said.

“We were all crying, we were holding out for hope,” he said.

“As a mom, I knew she was gone,” Ms Schmidt said, fighting back tears.

Two days later, the FBI ruled Petito’s death as a homicide, though, the results of the autopsy are still unknown. The remains of 22-year-old Gabby were found at a campsite near Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park on September 19.

In the same interview, Mr Petito criticised the Laundrie family for being evasive and uncooperative with the investigation.

“I honestly don’t know and they wouldn’t tell the truth to begin with,” he said.

The Laundries – Roberta and Chris – failed to respond to texts and calls despite several attempts by police officers, detectives and Gabby’s parents.

“I do believe they know a lot more information then they are putting out there,” Mr Petito said.

“I’m a dad. I make my kids stand up for their decisions,” he said. “If they make a mistake, I’ll help you. I’ll walk you through that path. But you’re going to, man, you’re going to own up to your mistake because that’s what a parent does – not what they’re doing. I’m sorry.”

“ We all want to protect our children, it’s understandable, but it’s also more important to teach your children right from wrong,” Mr Schmidt said. “And when something is wrong you need to do the right thing and have them own up whatever the consequences may be.”

“And this is about a woman who, at one point lived in their house, who was engaged to their son and they won’t talk to their family,” Richard Stafford, Gabby’s family attorney said.