(CNN) — The mother of Gabby Petito, the 22-year-old whose case captured national attention after she disappeared on a cross-country trip with her fiancé, has said she forgives him – but not his mother.

Petito and fiancé Brian Laundrie embarked on the trip in June 2021. Her family reported her missing that September, 10 days after Laundrie returned to his Florida home alone. Later that month, Petito was found dead in Wyoming of “strangulation.” Laundrie himself then went missing, and his remains were found in October 2021.

“I speak for myself here when I say Brian, I forgive you,” Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, said, speaking Friday at CrimeCon, a true crime convention in Nashville. “I needed to release myself from the chains of anger and bitterness, that I refuse to let your despicable act define the rest of my life.”

“Your atrocious decision to take a life, my daughter’s life, has ignited a fire within me, a fierce determination to protect the innocent from falling victim to monsters like you,” she continued.

She also described his mother, Roberta Laundrie, as “pure evil.”

Addressing Roberta Laundrie directly, Schmidt said, “I see no empathy in your eyes, no remorse in your heart and no willingness to take responsibility for your actions.”

“You do not deserve forgiveness,” she said. “You deserve to be forgotten.”

Schmidt called Laundrie’s parents “complicit in his cowardly flight from justice.” They “have added salt to our wounds” and “aided and abetted him,” she said.

“We were denied the chance to confront our daughter’s killer, to look him in the eye and express the profound pain his actions inflicted upon us,” she said. “The unbearable weight of Gabby’s absence is compounded by the sickening injustice of her murder remaining unpunished.”

CNN has reached out to the Laundrie family for comment.

Petito’s parents had sued Laundrie’s parents for emotional distress, alleging they knew their son had killed his fiancée and likely knew the location of her body but deliberately withheld that information. The two families reached a settlement in February.

Court documents showed Laundrie’s parents acknowledged in depositions their son told them Petito was “gone” and he would need a lawyer in a frantic phone call on August 29, 2021, three weeks before Petito’s remains were found in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest.

In depositions filed in the emotional distress lawsuit, Christopher and Roberta Laundrie denied being told by their son that he killed his fianceé, though Roberta Laundrie later said the thought “probably went through my mind.”

When Laundrie arrived back in Florida, his mother didn’t ask him about what happened with Petito, following her attorney’s advice not to talk about anything that might have happened, she said in the deposition.

“I was told not to ask, and so I just kept Brian close, kept him home and safe, and didn’t talk to him about anything and hoped for the best,” she said.

When asked what she thought her son meant when he said Petito was “gone,” Roberta Laundrie said several possibilities ran through her mind, including that the couple may have gotten into a fight and Petito could have been considering pressing charges.

Brian Laundrie’s remains were discovered in a Florida nature reserve after a weekslong manhunt. A medical examiner determined the 23-year-old man died by suicide, and authorities said they found writings nearby in which he claimed responsibility for Petito’s deathThe FBI “did not identify any other individuals other than Brian Laundrie directly involved” in her death.

On Friday, Schmidt described her daughter, an aspiring travel influencer, as a “bright light” and “talented artist.” She was “full of love, compassion, and boundless potential.”

Petito “had a personality that can only be described as tenacious and free-spirited,” she went on.

“We will continue to honor her memory, to cherish the moments we shared and to fight tirelessly for justice and change in her name,” Schmidt said.

“I implore you all, live by these simple words directly from Gabby: ‘Just be a nicer person,’” she said.

In November 2022, a Florida judge ruled in favor of Petito’s family in a wrongful death suit against Brian Laundrie’s estate, awarding $3 million to Petito’s mother as the administrator of her daughter’s estate.

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