Gabby Petito’s father sends message to families of Idaho murders victims

The father of Gabby Petito has shared a message for the families of the victims of the Idaho college murders during an appearance on Banfield on NewsNation.

Joe Petito’s daughter was killed at the age of 22 as she was on a cross-country road trip with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, the main suspect in her death, who later died by suicide.

Mr Petito appeared on Banfield to speak about his campaign working to aid victims of domestic violence, according to Newsweek. During the interview, he was asked about the recent killings in Idaho.

Kaylee Goncalves, 21, Madison Mogen, 21, Xana Kernodle, 20, and Ethan Chapin, 20, were stabbed as they were sleeping in November in Moscow, the home of the University of Idaho.

Bryan Kohberger, a 28-year-old ex-PhD student in criminology at Washington State University, has been arrested and is set to stand trial for the deaths of the students.

Mr Petito was asked what he would say to the Idaho parents.

He said having a “great support network” was important and that his network consisted of his wife Tara Petito, Gabby’s mother – his ex-wife Nichole Schmidt, and her husband Jim Schmidt. It has been reported that the two families moved in together as they handled the loss of the 22-year-old.

Host Brian Entin said, “I’ve covered a lot of tragedies lately, including what happened in Idaho, among a bunch of others unfortunately, and I just always think of you guys and what you went through and how you’ve kind of come out of it on the other side”.

“I know that doesn’t make the pain go away, but [you’re] trying to help others with the work you’re doing. And I know you talk to these other families. What do you say to these other families that go through these sorts of things?” he asked Mr Petito.

Mr Petito responded: “I’m fortunate, I have a great support system with Tara, Niki, Jim, friends, and family as well. We talk all the time, and that is really important. And we try to stress that to people that we talk to, making sure that they’re not alone and that they have the support and all the stuff that they need to navigate through these waters.”

“These are, you know, painful, hard ways to navigate ... So when you have a group of people gather, holding each other up, that helps a tremendous amount,” he added.

Mr Petito went on to discuss Utah state bill 117, which is set to require police to fill out a “lethality assessment form” when handling cases of domestic violence.

A number of questions have to be asked about the perpetrator to understand the risk that a victim may die.

Questions include if the perpetrator has made death threats towards the victim previously, if weapons have ever been used, if they attempt to control the life of the victim, and if the perpetrator has ever been suicidal.

Mr Petito was asked if he thinks Gabby may be alive today if such a law had been in place before her death.

“We do feel that way,” he said, adding that he hopes the law may become put in place nationwide.

Police bodycam footage shows that officers spoke to Gabby Petito during her trip with Brian Laundrie after witnesses said they had seen him beating her. But the officers chose not to detain Laundrie and appeared to believe Ms Petito when she said the altercation had been her fault and that she was the one who started the violence.

The Petito family are suing the Moab Police Department for their handling of the incident as well as the parents of Laundrie, claiming that they knew where her body had been buried and that they didn’t share that information.

Laundrie was the main suspect in the killing of Ms Petito, going on the run and dying by a self-inflicted gunshot wound before he could stand trial.