In July 2021, 22-year-old Gabby Petito and her 23-year-old former fiancé, Brian Laundrie, embarked on a cross-country trip in Gabby’s converted van. Her family said they last heard from the “van life” blogger in late August.

Brian returned to his parents’ home in North Port, Florida, on September 1 without Gabby. Her mother, Nichole Schmidt, reported Gabby missing on September 11. Brian and his family reportedly did not return calls and texts from Nichole or Gabby’s father, Joe, declined to speak with police, and refused to provide any information regarding her whereabouts.

On September 17, 2021, authorities say Brian’s mother, Roberta Laundrie, reported him missing. On Sunday, September 19, Gabby’s body was found in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming. Her death has been ruled a homicide. Brian Laundrie has been named as a person of interest.

Today, Gabby’s father, Joe Petito, who first appeared on Dr. Phil in September, returns with Gabby’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, her stepmother, Tara Petito, and stepfather, Jim Schmidt. Jim was the family’s representative in Wyoming when Gabby’s body was recovered.

“Just going off the information that we had, we felt that somebody had to be there,” he says.

In the video above, Jim says that on the morning Gabby’s body was found, the FBI asked him to confirm identifying information over the phone. “They described a piece of clothing to me that matched one of her favorite sweatshirts that we knew was hers.”

How does Jim say he broke the news to Nichole, Joe, and Tara?

In part one of a two-part episode, “Gabby Petito’s Family Speaks Out – A Dr. Phil Exclusive,” Gabby’s parents, along with their attorney Richard Stafford, discuss new developments in the investigation into her death and the ongoing manhunt for Brian Laundrie. On Wednesday’s conclusion, “Gabby’s Parents Come Together,” the conversation turns to Gabby’s legacy.

Check your local listing for air times.

Gabby Petito’s family has started the Gabby Petito Foundation, dedicated to bringing awareness to the dual causes of domestic violence and missing persons. To learn more about the Gabby Petito Foundation or to donate, visit

WATCH: The Gabby Petito Foundation: Keeping Gabby's Memory Alive

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