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Why Gabby Petito's Parents Say They Were Fooled By 'Nice Guy' Brian Laundrie

Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie, Nichole Schmidt

Gabby Petito’s parents have opened up about their relationship with Brian Laundrie as the search continues for the boyfriend of their late-daughter.

The family have admitted to feeling fooled by Laundrie who they believed to be a good match for Gabby before she was found dead in Wyoming, weeks after he returned home from their roadtrip without her. 

Gabby Petito’s parents believed Brian Laundrie was a ‘nice guy.’ 

“He was very polite and quiet,” said Nichole Schmidt, Gabby’s mother. 

“He’d draw them pictures and stuff. He would read books to my little one at night before bed. So, he just seemed like a nice guy.”

RELATED: Former Prosecutor Reveals Details Of How Gabby Petito’s Body Was Found After Analyzing Crime Scene Footage

Jim Schmidt, Gabby’s stepfather, felt the same and recalled Laundrie always being “polite” and friendly to both Gabby’s parents and younger siblings. 

The pair were confident that Laundrie would “take care” of Gabby on their cross-country road trip and felt comfort knowing that she was in good company.

However, details that have emerged since Gabby was reported missing on September 11 — after Laundrie and his parents refused to answer Gabby’s family’s questions about her whereabouts — paint a different picture.

Police were called to a domestic incident between Gabby and Laundrie on August 12 after a 911 caller claimed to have seen a man hitting a woman.

Many have wondered if Laundrie had a history of violence against Gabby after it was revealed that she died by strangulation in late August.

RELATED: Photos Taken After Gabby Petito’s Death Allegedly Show Bruising On Brian Laundrie’s Arm

Gabby’s father, Joe Petito, notes that the couple’s online persona — where they were documenting their trip — did not match up with their real life relationship.

“She did look happy,” he said. “But as we look more and more into this, it might not have been as great as people online perceived.”

Abusers often present as ‘nice guys.’

Petito’s family, like so many others, may have mistaken Laundrie as charming and polite because that is likely how he wanted to appear to them.

It is not uncommon for abusers to present themselves in this way in order to keep abuse hidden.

“Abusers are often also master manipulators,” says Ann Papayoti, a relationship and life coach.

“To stay in control and keep their victim off balance, taking the blame,” she continues, “Having other people experience them as a “nice guy” is a covert strategy in their game.”

This allows abusers to continue to abuse, by keeping their victims’ loved ones oblivious to the reality of their relationship, they are able to prevent anyone from intervening. 

“Men that are abuse are very clever, smart, and extremely charming,” explains John G. Taylor in ‘Psychology Today.’ 

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“Most of these men have a personality that draws people in because of their level of charm. This is part of their art to deceive and manipulate.”

This makes it more difficult for family’s like the Petitos to protect their children from toxic relationships. 

Gabby Petito’s family believe Brian Laundrie’s parents know more than they’re letting on.

Her family implied Roberta and Chris Laundrie may have been privy to some of Laundrie’s behavior and actions after Gabby’s death.

"I think silence speaks volumes," Schmidt said of Laundrie's parents. "I believe they know…if not everything, they know most of the information. I would love to just — face to face — ask, ‘Why are you doing this? Just tell me the truth.'"

RELATED: Gabby Petito Wasn't Crazy

Alice Kelly is a senior news and entertainment editor for YourTango. Based out of Brooklyn, New York, her work covers all things social justice, pop culture, and human interest. Keep up with her Twitter for more.