Gabby Petito’s mother has announced a $100,000 donation to help combat domestic violence and aid victims, and described her daughter’s killer Brian Laundrie as someone who “wanted to look like the good guy.”
Nicole Schmidt said the donation from the Gabby Petito Foundation to the National Domestic Violence Hotline will help other victims like her daughter caught in turbulent relationships get help.
“Our story begins because of a domestic violence tragedy and we don’t want to see that happen to anybody else,” Schmidt said on the “TODAY” show in an interview that aired Thursday.
The donation comes as the one year anniversary of her daughter’s death approaches.
Gabby Petito was killed by her fiancé Brian Laundrie last year, after the pair had embarked on cross-country trip living out of a van, investigators said.
Petito’s body was found in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming on Sept. 19, 2021. It was determined she had been dead for at last three weeks and her death was ruled a homicide by “manual strangulation.”
Laundrie then disappeared and a widespread search was launched for him. His remains were found in wetland areas in Florida’s Carlton Reserve on Oct. 20, 2021.
Laundrie wrote that he had “responsibility” in Petito’s death, the FBI said.
In June, the Laundrie family attorney released hand written notes Laundrie wrote that read in part: “I ended her life, I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistakes I made,” NBC New York reported.
At the time, Schmidt shared a post on Twitter an image that read “Narcissists rewrite history to escape accountability.”
Speaking Thursday, Schmidt doubled down on her stance.
“That was his character, even in his last moments, he wanted to make sure he looked like the good guy. That’s ridiculous. We know how she died,” she said.
She believed his claims in the notes were untrue.
Following Petito’s death, the National Domestic Violence hotline saw an uptick in calls and chats.
Schmidt says her family was inundated by comments of support from the public, some from people in domestic violence relationships themselves.
“We got a lot of messages and emails from people saying your daughter saved my life, I left because of her,” Schmidt said.
The donation will help the National Domestic Violence get to their fundraising goal of $2 million.
“She touched the world. This whole tragedy that happened is for a higher purpose, that’s what keeps me going,” Schmidt said.