Gabby Petito’s parents take legal action against Brian Laundrie’s parents
Gabby Petito’s parents have filed a lawsuit against Brian Laundrie’s parents claiming they already knew their son killed Petito while she was still missing and accusing the Laundries of helping Brian escape the investigators.
In the lawsuit, filed Thursday in a circuit court in Sarasota County, Florida, Petito’s parents, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, blame the “shocking, atrocious and totally intolerable” actions of Christopher and Roberta Laundrie for causing them “suffering from pain and suffering, mental anguish” and “loss of ability to enjoy life”.
The lawsuit provides a timeline, from Petito’s parents’ perspective, of the van-life couple’s days leading up to Gabby’s murder – which allegedly took place on August 29, 2021 – as well as the Laundrie family’s actions after the return from Brian to Florida without Petito.
According to the lawsuit, Brian – in possession of both his and Gabby’s phone – texted between the two phones to give the illusion that Gabby was still alive, then texted Schmidt from the phone. of Gabby pretending to be her daughter. Brian made the mistake of referring to Petito’s grandfather as “Stan”, his real name, instead of a less formal nickname.
However, the most damning accusation – and the basis of the lawsuit – is the Petito family’s claim that Brian informed his parents of Gabby’s death on August 30, the day after it. On September 2, according to the lawsuit, the Laundrie family put attorney Steven Bertolino on probation.
The laundries then cut off all communication with a Petito family who were desperate for information on their missing daughter. “In an effort to avoid contact with Nichole Schmidt, on or around September 10, 2021, Roberta Laundrie blocked Nichole Schmidt on her cell phone so that neither phone calls nor text messages could be delivered, and she blocked on Facebook,” the lawsuit states.
Petito’s parents also claim the Laundries released their September 14 statement in the hope “that the search for Miss Petito will be successful and that Miss Petito will be reunited with her family”, when they already knew Gabby had already been assassinated. Shortly after this statement, the laundries asked all contacts to communicate with them through their lawyer.
“As Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt desperately searched for information about their daughter, [the Laundries] were keeping the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie secret, and it is believed that they were arranging for him to leave the country,” the lawsuit alleges.
The Laundrie family’s attorney, Bertolino, said in a statement on Friday: “As I have argued for the past few months, the Laundries have not publicly commented on my instructions, which is their right under the Assuming that everything the Petitos allege in their lawsuit is true, which we deny, this lawsuit does not change the fact that the laundries had no obligation to speak to law enforcement or any third party, including the Petito family.This basic legal principle renders Petito’s claims without merit in law.
The lawsuit comes two months after the FBI closed its investigation into the death of 22-year-old Petito. After finding Laundrie’s body in November – he killed himself with a single bullet to the head in a Florida nature preserve – investigators discovered a notebook in which Laundrie admitted to killing Petito.
Petito and Schmidt are seeking damages in excess of $30,000. A lawyer representing Petito’s parents in the lawsuit did not immediately respond to rolling stone request for comment.