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Gabby Petito’s mother reveals where she thinks Brian Laundrie is right now

Gabby Petito’s mother, Nicole Schmidt, recently talked to Fox News senior correspondent Laura Ingle about Brian Laundrie

Nichole Schmidt, mother of Gabby Petito, speaks during a news conference on Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Bohemia, N.Y.
Nichole Schmidt, mother of Gabby Petito, whose death on a cross-country trip has sparked a manhunt for her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, speaks alongside, from left, Tara Petito, stepmother, Joseph Petito, father, Richard Stafford, family attorney, and Jim Schmidt, stepfather, during a news conference, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Bohemia, N.Y.
John Minchillo, Associated Press

Gabby Petito’s mother has an idea of where Brian Laundrie might be right now — and it’s not in Florida’s Carlton Reserve.

Fox News senior correspondent Laura Ingle recently spoke with Petito’s mother and father, Nicole Schmidt and Joe Petito, as well as her stepmother and stepfather, Tara Petito and Jim Schmidt.

She asked Nicole Schmidt when she knew Gabby Petito wasn’t coming home.

“The night I knew the van was in Florida, I instinctively knew that my daughter was not here anymore,” she said.

Petito was first reported missing on Sept. 11. She had last been seen in a Wyoming national park after spending the summer on a road trip with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, who returned home to Florida on Sept. 1 with Petito’s van.

Laundrie hired a lawyer and did not speak with police about what happened, invoking his Fifth Amendment right.

On Sept. 13, Brian Laundrie left his home and hasn’t been seen since. His family reported him missing on Sept. 17. Two days later, Petito’s remains were found in Wyoming near a national park. She was confirmed to have died by homicide two days later.

Now, the search continues for Laundrie, who is wanted as a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance. The U.S. District Court of Wyoming also issued a federal arrest warrant for Brian Laundrie for “use of unauthorized access device” related to activities after the death of Petito. According to the Petito family’s lawyer, Richard Stafford, Laundrie had used Petito’s bank card three days after she was last seen alive.

Laundrie’s whereabouts remain unknown.

Nicole Schmidt has an idea of where Laundrie might be hiding.

“I’m not certain,” she told Laura Ingle. “But I would think that he’s in an area like the Appalachian Trail or a campground where he can live off the land because he had those skills.”

Police have focused their efforts on the Carlton Reserve in Florida. However, there has been speculation he might be on the Appalachian Trail, as I wrote for the Deseret News.

One Appalachian Trail hiker, Dennis Davis, said he spoke with Brian Laundrie on a road near the Appalachian Trail in North Carolina. He said the man “acted skittish and rambled,” per the New York Post.

“He said, ‘Man, I’m lost.’ I said, ‘What are you trying to find?’ and he said, ‘Me and my girlfriend got in a fight but she called me, told me she loves me, and I have to get to California to see her.’

“I said, ‘Well, I-40 is right there and you could take it west to California’ and he said, ‘I’m just going to take this road into California.’

“He was worried and not making sense,” he said, per KSAT.com.

North Carolina police said they are investigating dozens of tips from people who claim to have seen Brian Laundrie, according to NBC News.

Correction: This article previously said Gabby Petito died by suicide. She was confirmed to have died by homicide.