Speaking with NBC News this week, Petito’s mother—Nicole Schmidt—detailed the personal importance of the Gabby Petito Foundation’s donation. And around the two-minute mark, Schmidt was asked about the release of those aforementioned excerpts, namely the included descriptions of Laundrie having “ended [Petito’s] life” and considering it a “merciful” act. Laundrie, as previously reported, had purported that Petito was in extreme pain at the time after falling into a creek.
“That was his character,” Schmidt said in an interview that aired on an episode of Today. “Even in his last moments, he wanted to make sure he looked like the good guy, right? That’s ridiculous. We know how she died.” As previously reported, the Teton County Coroner’s Office ultimately determined that Petito died due to blunt-force trauma and “manual strangulation.”
Asked if those journal claims were false, Schmidt said she believes they are “100 percent” not true.
As for the aforementioned donation, which was revealed on Thursday to be in the amount of $100,000, it’s said to be going toward the hiring of additional staff to help meet the increased demand the National Domestic Violence Hotline has been facing since the Petito case began. According to Schmidt, she’s received messages from people she’s never met who have credited her late daughter’s case with having inspired them to make life-saving changes in their own relationships.
More specifically, the $100K will provide support for an emergency fundraising campaign from the Hotline known as Hope Can’t Wait. According to Hotline CEO Katie Ray-Jones, the volume of contact at the service has nearly doubled over the past year.
In July, a Florida judge ruled that a lawsuit against Laundrie’s parents from Petito’s parents could move forward.