Gabby Petito’s family said said Tuesday that the decision to leave the slain Long Island woman’s body at a Wyoming morgue was “very tough” but vital as an FBI investigation shakes out.
“Part of our goal was we wanted to bring her home as quickly as possible,” Petito’s stepfather, James Schmidt, told reporters at a press conference on Long Island.
“But it’s important for the FBI, Teton County sheriff, the Teton coroner’s office to hold on to her as long as they need,” he said. “We want to make sure that, no matter what, we don’t impede their investigation in any way.”
“We know that she’s safe with them, as long as she’s with them,” Schmidt added. “It was a very tough decision to have to make to come home, but we felt it was important to come home so we could mourn her and celebrate her life and be with her family and friends.”
“And when they’re ready to release her, we’ll bring her home,” he added.
Petito’s parents and stepparents also displayed new tattoos they got together Monday night — identical to the “Let it Be” and a triangle with flowers that Gabby had.
Petito, 22, vanished last month during an ill-fated cross-country trip with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie with the Blue Point native reportedly last seen alive on Aug. 27 at a Wyoming restaurant.
Laundrie himself has since gone missing and Petito’s family has repeatedly accused his family of withholding information about Petito’s death — which has been ruled a homicide — and Laundrie’s whereabouts.
“The Laundries did not help us find Gabby, and they sure are not going to help us find Brian,” Petito family attorney Richard Stafford told reporters Tuesday.
Laundrie’s parents, Christopher and Roberta, insist they do not know where their son is and denied helping him flee, family attorney Steven Bartolino said in a statement Monday.
The FBI executed a search warrant at the home but have not revealed their findings.
Brian Laundrie remains a person of interest in Petito’s death and was indicted last week on federal fraud charges for using a debit card that didn’t belong to him.
The FBI did not specify if the cards in question were Petito’s, and Stafford referred questions related to the matter to the FBI at Tuesday’s press conference.
The family also said the newly founded Gabby Petito Foundation will help other families with missing children find their loved ones.
They also said they were overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the public — while noting various “signs” that Petito is watching over them.
“We actually got behind a car yesterday with a Wyoming sticker and the license plates GBZ — ‘Gabs,’” her mother, Nichole Schmidt, said, breaking into tears. “She’s with us. She’s with us.”