Gabby Petito’s dad says he had a mocking nickname for his daughter’s boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, who is now a “person of interest’’ in her disappearance-turned-suspected death case.
Joseph Petito revealed that he’d refer to Brian as “Brianne,” according an episode of “Dr. Phil” that aired Monday.
“I’ve never actually liked any of Gabby’s boyfriends. I’ve never actually called any of them by their real name, ever,” said the dad, who lives on Long Island.
“I always tried to use the female versions of the boyfriends’ names, just to intimidate them a little bit,” he said.
“They laughed,” Joseph Petito said. “Although as the years progressed, I think [Gabby] prepared them for when they met me.’’
Laundrie, 23, and Gabby, 22, embarked on a cross-country trek in her white 2012 Ford Transit van in early July, only to have him surface alone at his parents’ Florida home Sept. 1 — in the vehicle and without her. He then went missing last week, with the FBI searching his parents’ home Monday and authorities resuming their hunt for him Tuesday.
Gabby’s parents have said they last talked to her Aug. 24, when she told them the pair was leaving Salt Lake City, Utah, for Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
Remains believed to be Gabby’s were discovered in the park Sunday.
Joseph Petito, who talked to TV host Dr. Phil McGraw before his daughter’s suspected body was found, said he had a “gut feeling” something bad had happened to her — as he bashed Laundrie’s behavior.
“He stole her car. That’s her van. ‘So you left, and you left her in the middle of nowhere and didn’t tell a soul,’” the dad said, referring to Laundrie. “‘And your first call was to an attorney.’
“How would he know to get an attorney? If you did nothing wrong … ‘Mr. Petito, I left your daughter in the Grand Teton. We had an argument. I took her van, and I went home.’
“Well, all right, I let the authorities handle the theft of the car. I’m gonna go get my daughter, you know, whatever. You make the phone call. That means my daughter would be here right now because I would have picked her up.”
“There is no scenario where you clam up the way he has,” the dad said.