Gabby Petito's family are suing Brian Laundrie’s parents, accusing them of knowing he had killed their daughter before Gabby's body was eventually found and trying to help him flee authorities.
According to Sky News, the lawsuit was filed by Gabby’s parents, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, on Thursday (10 March) in Sarasota County, Florida.
Their 22-year-old daughter and her fiancé, Laundrie, 23, had been driving around national parks in the US in their van when she was reported missing by her family in September last year.
Petitio’s body was later found on 19 September in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, with a coroner revealing she had died of strangulation.
Laundrie was a 'person of interest' in the homicide of his late partner, and went missing himself on 14 September.
Laundrie's body was found on 20 October, and a forensic anthropologist determined the cause of death to be suicide.
The FBI concluded that Laundrie had strangled Petitio after a notebook containing a confession to the murder discovered by his remains in Florida’s Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park.
Petitio’s parents are now seeking at least $30,000 (£23,076) in damages from Laundrie’s parents, Christopher and Roberta Laundrie.
The lawsuit claims they had ‘full knowledge that Gabrielle Petito had been murdered by their son’, alleging that they hid this knowledge from authorities while the search was underway.
“It is believed, and therefore averred that… Brian Laundrie advised his parents, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie, that he had murdered Gabrielle Petito,” states the lawsuit.
“On that same date, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie spoke with attorney Steve Bertolino, and sent him a retainer on Sept. 2, 2021.”
The legal filing goes on to say: “While Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt were desperately searching for information concerning their daughter, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie were keeping the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie secret,” alleging that ‘they were making arrangements for him to leave the country’.
“Christopher and Roberta Laundrie exhibited extreme and outrageous conduct which constitutes behavior, under the circumstances, which goes beyond all possible bounds of decency and is regarded as shocking, atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community,” the lawsuit adds.
Speaking to Fox 13, the Laundries’ aforementioned attorney Bertolino defended his clients, stating: "As I have maintained over the last several months, the Laundries' have not publicly commented at my direction which is their right under the law.
“Assuming 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 fundamental legal principle renders the Petito’s claims to be baseless under the law.”
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/Gabby Petito
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