Dr Petit had been married to his wife, Jennifer, a nurse, for 22 years. They had two daughters, 17-year-old daughter Hayley and eleven-year-old Michaela. On a Sunday morning in July 2007, a convicted felon who was out on parole randomly spotted Jennifer and Michaela at a neighborhood store. After following them home, at 3 am, 44-year-old Steven Hayes and 26-year-old Joshua Komisarjevsky broke into the Petit household.
Dr Petit was the first victim, beaten with a baseball bat and tied unconscious in the basement. Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela were bound to their beds and tortured throughout the night. Michaela was allegedly sexually assaulted while tied to her childhood bed. Jennifer was raped and strangled to death. Her body and the house were then doused with gasoline.
Meanwhile, Dr Petit woke up in the basement. He managed to crawl to a neighbor"s house to try and get help but the Petit house went up in flames before help could arrive. Hayley managed to free herself but died at the top of the stairs from smoke inhalation. Michaela died still bound to her bed. Their mother's body was burned beyond recognition.
"I went to sleep one night in a nice home with a loving family and basically awakened in an emergency room naked on a gurney with no clothes, no family, no home," Dr Petit says. "Everything was gone."
Dr Petit talks to Oprah about moving on in life as he believes that is what his wife and daughters would want. He also speaks about The Petit Family Foundation which was started with donations from friends, community members and complete strangers. The Petit Family Foundation preserves the memory of Jennifer, Hayley and Michaela by promoting causes the Petit women held close to their hearts. So far, the foundation has raised more than $1.5 million.
Watch Oprah Winfrey with Dr Petit as he relives the worst episode of his life, on October 19 at 8 pm, exclusively on BIG CBS LOVE.
On Wednesday's episode of The Oprah Winfrey show on BIG CBS LOVE, Oprah Winfrey visits Dr William Petit at his parents' Connecticut home to talk about the tragic loss of his family and the strength he found to move forward. In his first interview, Dr Petit talks about that ghastly night and the dreadful loss of his family, on BIG CBS Love.