“I think Gabby’s story touched a lot of people and she’s saving lives,” said Nichole Schmidt
Gabby Petito’s mother says that even with the benefit of hindsight, she is unsure she could have saved her daughter from the violent abuse of boyfriend Brian Laundrie.
Nichole Schmidt announced she is partnering with the National Domestic Violence Hotline to encourage women to seek help as the anniversary of her daughter’s death approaches.
The Gabby Petito Foundation is also making a $100,000 donation as the hotline experiences a surge in calls from women seeking help.
In an interview with the Associated Press, Ms Schmidt said that by working to raise attention about the soaring rates of domestic abuse, she was helping to keep her daughter’s memory alive.
“I think Gabby’s story touched a lot of people and she’s saving lives,” Ms Schmidt told the Associated Press.
“I get people messaging me all the time that they were inspired by her to get out of a relationship.”
Ms Petito’s remains were found near the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on 19 September last year after a month-long, nationwide, missing persons search that captured the attention of the country.
Investigators determined she had been strangled by Laundrie, who later admitted killing her in a confession note before taking his own life in a Florida swamp.
Evidence of the abuse suffered by Ms Petito was revealed when police in Moab, Utah, pulled the couple over weeks before her death after receiving reports they had been fighting.
Laundrie was released without charge, despite a witness reporting to have seen him striking Ms Petito.
An independent investigation into police failures in the case found that Ms Petito was very likely a “long-term victim of domestic violence”.
Ms Schmidt told the Associated Press that she hadn’t seen any red flags.
“I think the only two people that will ever know what happened in that relationship was Gabby and Brian. And we can guess and we can make assumptions but we don’t really know what happened," hun sa.
Ms Schmidt said she would continue to use the tragedy of her daughter’s death to help domestic violence survivors.
“It’s her legacy.”
De $100,000 donation from the Petito Foundation, plus another $200,000 gift from another family, would go toward expanding the national hotline’s “Hope Can’t Wait” initiative.
CEO Katie Ray-Jones told the Associated Press they had received 440,000 calls already in 2022, an increase of a third from the same time last year.
“That is a substantial increase really overwhelming our services,” Ms Ray-Jones said. “We need to increase the number of advocates.”