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Petitos v Laundries latest: Family in court to sue her killer’s parents

Gabby Petito’s father calls Laundrie family ‘cowards’

Lawyers for Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie will come face-to-face in court for the first time on Wednesday as a judge will decide whether a civil lawsuit against the killer’s family can go ahead.

Ms Petito’s parents filed a lawsuit in Florida’s Sarasota County Circuit Court in March alleging that Chris and Roberta Laundrie were aware that their son had killed the vlogger before she was reported missing.

Joe Petito and Nichole Schmidt also accuse the Laundries of planning to help Brian leave the country, and are seeking damages for the “intentional infliction of emotional distress”.

Laundrie family attorney Steve Bertolino has described the allegations as “baseless” and is seeking to have the case thrown out.

The lawsuit alleges Brian Laundrie informed his parents of the Ms Petito’s murder “on or about” 28 August.

“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, and it is believed were making arrangements for him to leave the country,” the lawsuit says.

Judge Hunter W. Carroll will hear arguments from both sides to determine whether the case can proceed to a jury trial next year.


Laundrie sent text messages to try and make police think Gabby Petito was still alive

The FBI revealed in January that Brian Laundrie sent text messages to Gabby Petito’s phone to try and make the authorities think the murdered young woman was still alive.

As the FBI concluded its investigation into her murder and made clear there was no plan to charge Laundries’ parents in connection with her disappearance, the FBI said it had examined text messages sent by Laundrie to his fiancée’s phone after he had murdered her.

“After Ms Petito’s death, there were several text messages identified between Mr Laundrie’s telephone and Ms Petito’s telephone,” said the final report.

“The timing and content of these messages are indicative of Mr Laundrie attempting to deceive law enforcement by giving the impression that Ms Petito was still alive.”

The authorities said they had also examined Laundrie’s belongings and found among them a notebook in which the 24-year-old confessed to killing her.

Bevan Hurley22 June 2022 17:05


Who’s who in Petito v Laundrie court hearing

The hearing to determine whether a civil lawsuit brought by Gabby Petito’s parents can proceed to trial is scheduled to begin at 1.30pm ET in the Sarasota County Circuit Court in Venice, Florida.

Fox News reports that the Petito-Schmidt families will attend the hearing in person. However, the Laundries are not planning to attend or appear via video link.

Florida attorney Pat Reilly will represent the Petito family.

Matthew Luka will appear as a defense attorney for the Laundries. Their family attorney Steve Bertolino is also expected to appear via video link.

The hearing is open to cameras.

Judge Hunter W. Carroll will hear arguments from both sides to determine whether the case can proceed to a jury trial next year.

Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito


Bevan Hurley22 June 2022 17:01


Brian Laundrie’s parents will not be charged in connection with Gabby Petito murder

While the civil lawsuit case continues, Chris and Roberta Laundrie are not facing criminal prosecution over Gabby Petito’s homicide.

An FBI investigation concluded in January that Laundrie was the sole person responsible for the “tragic death of Gabby Petito” as it announced it was wrapping up its four and a half month long investigation.

Bevan Hurley22 June 2022 16:40


Who are Christopher and Roberta Laundrie?

Chris and Roberta Laundrie led authorities to personal items belonging to their son Brian in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on 20 October, marking the most significant update in the hunt for their fugitive son since he disappeared in mid-August.

Later the same day, human remains were found in the area later, and have been confirmed to be Brian Laundrie.

They had initially refused to speak to police, but later sat down for interviews with the FBI and released carefully-worded statements through their lawyer Steve Bertolino.

Read more about Chris and Roberta Laundrie here.

Bevan Hurley22 June 2022 16:22


List of potential witnesses at next year’s jury trial

In May, the Petito family’s attorneys issued a list of names they would seek to call at trial.

The names included Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, Gabby’s mother and father, Tara Petito and James Schmidt, her stepmother and stepfather.

Also on the witness list were Brian Laundrie’s parents Chris and Roberta, and representatives of the FBI and North Post Police Department.

Laundrie attorney Steve Bertolino told WFLA at the time it was a “wish list”.

A trial would likely take place in August 2023.

Joe and Tara Petito at a press conference in 2021

(Associated Press)

Bevan Hurley22 June 2022 16:15


Brian Laundrie admits killing Gabby Petito in ‘suicide note’ found near his remains

The FBI revealed in January that Brian Laundrie claimed responsibility for the murder of Gabby Petito’s death in a “suicide note” found near his remains.

It found Laundrie was solely responsible for the “tragic death of Gabby Petito” as it announced it was wrapping up its four and a half month long investigation.

A notebook recovered near Laundrie’s remains in Florida’s Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park contained a written confession, the FBI said.

“A review of the notebook revealed written statements by Mr Laundrie claiming responsibility for Ms Petito’s death,” the FBI said in a statement.

Bevan Hurley22 June 2022 16:05


The sad, twisting saga of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie

“Blue Point Woman Reported Missing,” the Suffolk County Police Department tweeted on 13 September.

Not everyone who spotted the announcement would necessarily have feared the worst. It was certainly odd that the vehicle she had been travelling in had returned without her. Yet people are reported missing all the time. And it is not unheard of for young people to get off the grid for all sorts of reasons.

What we know now is that by the time her parents reported her missing, and the Suffolk County Police Department posted its one-line statement, the 22-year-old woman was already dead, having been strangled to death around two weeks earlier in the Spread Creek campsite, 20 miles north of Jackson Hole.

Read Andrew Buncombe’s recap of what the Gabby Petito tells us about America.

Bevan Hurley22 June 2022 15:53

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