Petito’s family members and the family’s attorney and spokesperson, Richard Stafford, sat down for a 30-minute interview with Dr. Phil McGraw on his self-named show. It was the parents’ first interview together since officials announced on Sept. 21 that 22-year-old Petito had died of a homicide. The cause of her death has not yet been announced.
Police had previously named Petito’s fiancé, Brian Laundrie, as a person of interest in connection with what was then her disappearance. On Sept. 23, the FBI issued an arrest warrant for Laundrie, accusing him of bank card fraud.
Authorities alleged at the time that he used an unidentified person’s Capital One card and the personal identification number to charge or withdraw over $ 1,000 between Aug. 30 and Sept. 1, during which time Petito was still missing. Neither investigators nor a spokesperson for Petito’s family would confirm whether the card belonged to Petito.
But speaking to what he saw as Laundrie’s “state of mind” as portrayed by Laundrie’s actions, Stafford described how Laundrie “stole her credit card.”
“He used her credit card to get home and then ran from the police,” Stafford continued. “That’s going to show a lot what he was thinking back then.”
Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino declined to comment.
The couple left for a cross-country journey in mid-June in a converted white Ford Transit van with the plan to visit national parks along the way. They had begun dating years earlier after meeting at their local Long Island, New York, high school and had moved to North Port, Florida, to live with Laundrie’s parents.
Laundrie, who is now a fugitive, returned to the North Port home in the couple’s van without Petito. He has not been seen since Sept. 14 and remained on the run as of Tuesday afternoon.
Petito was not reported missing until Sept. 11, when her mother notified police in Suffolk County, New York. Authorities later seized the van from the Laundries’ home.
Her body turned up near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Sept. 19. Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue found in his initial determination that Petito was the victim of a homicide, the FBI’s Denver Field Office announced on Sept. 21.