Jim Schmidt, the stepfather of Gabby Petito, confirms her body is still in Wyoming custody as her belongings remain at the Laundrie’s residence in Florida.
In the wake of her body being found, the family of Gabby Petito held a public funeral at a funeral home on September 26, 2021, in Holbrook, New York near her hometown. Meanwhile, the search continues for a second week in Florida to find her fiancé, Brian Laundrie. He remains a person of interest.
After the funeral, Gabby’s family held a press conference in New York on Tuesday. Within, her stepfather, Jim Schmidt, revealed that all of Gabby’s belongings are “still in the home of her fiancé Brian Laundrie.”
Schmidt added that the 22-year-old’s body remains in Wyoming custody and has not been returned to the family. Despite this, however, Schmidt says Gabby is “always with us,” The Independent cites.
Moreover, the family has yet to receive any of Gabby’s belongings. Everything she owned remains in the Florida residence of the Laundrie family. The home has been searched thoroughly by state and federal officials over the past week.
Yet a North Port police spokesperson tells The Independent that he is “not certain” where Gabby’s belongings are. The NY official says he is “unaware of any items of hers from inside the home”.
Gabby Petito Case: Why is So Little Information on the 22-Year-Old’s Death Public?
After the discovery of Gabby’s body on September 19, officials offered little information. The FBI’s autopsy report annouced the manner of death as homicide. The cause of death, however, is still unknown.
This has led to much trade speculation. City University of New York criminal justice professor Joseph Giacalone, for example, believes officials are “withholding a cause of death for a reason.”
“If she’s strangled, the evidence is going to be limited,” he told Insider. “In the respect that you’re not going to have blood everywhere and, you know, hair fibers or all that other stuff.”
Florida State University’s George Kirkham, however, believes Gabby Petito’s body would’ve become “very skeletonized” over time. This would make further evidence on her cause of death much more difficult to obtain. Yet Kirkham, a criminal justice expert, still believes officials should have a cause of death by now.
“Each scene will hold a significant piece of physical evidence that they will need to put this all together,” he continues.
CUNY’s Giacalone adds that officers could be juggling multiple potential crime scenes. At the top of the list is the Bridger-Teton National Forest site where Gabby Petito’s body came to light. The 22-year-old’s Ford Transit camper van would be next.
While the search for Brian Laundrie continues, Gabby’s parents are urging authorities to give the same attention to other missing persons cases that they did their daughter’s.