The family of Gabby Petito has been granted the right to sue the parents of Brian Laundrie for their attorney’s comments during the search.
Keep scrolling to learn more.
It all started back in September 2021 when Gabby Petito’s parents held a press conference asking for help to find their missing daughter…
Soon after, Brian’s family issued a counter-statement via their lawyer: “This is an extremely difficult time for both the Petito family and the Laundrie family. I understand that a search has been organized for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.”
It even gave false hope to Gabby’s family and said: “It is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful,” despite knowing their son killed his fiancé, on a trip she had described as a “dream.”
But the first hearing held on 22 June revealed how Brian’s parents failed to turn up, fueling rumors of an obvious conspiracy…
The lawsuit stated that Christopher and Roberta Laundrie knew the whereabouts of Gabby’s body during the time when authorities poured resources into a massive missing person investigation, PEOPLE reports.
If that wasn’t an obvious sign of guilt and transparency from the Laundries, Gabby’s parents took a large amount in damages…
Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt reportedly took more than $30,000 in damages, mainly for the “mental anguish” the couple suffered from the alleged deceit of the Laundries.
In what was a shocking turn of events, the March filing alleged that Brian’s parents indeed helped him to conceal Gabby’s murder.
The lawsuit said that instead of helping Joseph and Nichole locate their daughter, Brian’s parents “went on vacation with Brian, ignoring all pleas for help from Gabby’s family.”
But that’s not all, Roberta had blocked Nichole’s phone number and Facebook profile in September to avoid contact — and was even making plans for Brian to leave the country.
Eventually, when Gabby’s body was found in September 2021, it had been revealed that the 22-year old had been killed by homicidal strangulation…
Although, Gabby’s lawyers have slammed the Laundrie’s misleading statement, which gave false hope to the grieving parents, the judge in court raised a particularly interesting question amidst the ongoing trial.
But it turns out, the $30,000 in damages was not just for the “mental anguish” the Laundries caused…
The lawyer for Gabby’s parents said they were “seeking damages for [the Laundries] conduct,” and said Brian’s parents caused Gabby’s family pain and suffering by not disclosing vital information.
“The Laundries should be responsible for their conduct and what they did after they knew that Gabby was dead and where her body was located,” said attorney Patrick Reilly.
Arguing back, Laundries’ lawyers said: “Everybody has the right to their private enclave” and even added people “don’t have to come and affirmatively state everything they know about everything.”
“My argument is that even if Brian Laundrie conveys information to his parents, that they don’t have a requirement then to speak with regard to that information.
“They don’t have to share it,” said the attorney.
But during the recent hearing, Gabby’s lawyer accused the Laundries of knowing where Gabby’s body was located and said it was “beyond outrageous” to offer false hope to the grieving parents…
“They knew where her body was located and they had the audacity to express a hope that she would be reunited with her family,” said Gabby’s lawyers, Too Fab reports.
Gabby’s parents also had a face-off in court against Brian’s lawyers, as his parents failed to show up…
Both Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt attended the hearing.
While Nichole was seen crying in court, the grieving mother wore a necklace containing her daughter’s ashes. Brian Laundrie’s parents, however, did not show up, but according to Too Fab, they weren’t legally required to attend, as lawyers spoke on their behalf.
“Aren’t we responsible for the words that we say, when we say them?” asked the judge.
The judge even made similar comparisons to the Amber Heard and Johnny Depp trial, and said: “Johnny Depp just got found civilly liable for defamation for what his attorney said, right?”
While the Laundries lawyer agreed with the judge, he also repeatedly stated that the attorney who released the statement “isn’t being accused of anything” adding it’s unclear at this point what “he knew at the time” it was given to the press.
The judge said he’ll have a final decision on the lawsuit within 2 weeks. However, the Laundries are trying to get the case thrown out.
As we know, Brian Laundrie’s notebook found beside his body.
And now, extracts from the notebook have been revealed to the public.
In the notebook, he admits to killing Gabby.
Brian wrote: “I ended her life. I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistakes I made. I panicked. I was in shock. But from the moment I decided I took away her pain, I knew I couldn’t go on without her.”
In a confession note, Brian claimed that Gabby had been injured after falling into a creek, writing:
“I found her breathing heavily, gasping my name, she was freezing cold. I carried her as far as I could down the stream towards the car, stumbling exhausted in shock when my knees buckled, and knew I couldn’t safely carry her. I started a fire and spooned her as close to the heat, she was so thin, and had already been freezing too long. I couldn’t at the time realize that I should’ve started a fire first but I wanted her out of the cold back to the car.”
Brian claimed that she was “gasping in pain, begging for an end to her pain.”
That’s why Brian says he decided to take Gabby’s life.
Since then, it has come out that Brian’s mom offered to help him, sending him a letter instructing him to “burn after you read this.”
According to the Petito family lawyer Patrick Riley, Roberta Laundrie wrote a letter to her son after Gabby’s body had been found, and before he died.
“Within that letter is an offer from Roberta Laundrie to assist her son,” he claimed in an interview with News Nation.
“There are scenarios presented by Roberta in that letter, for example, ‘if you go to jail, I’ll bake a cake and I’ll put a knife in it or a saw in it.'”
He didn’t share any other part of the letter, but described its contents as “odd.”
You can watch part of his interview here.
And now, just days after the news of her letter came out, Petito’s family won the right to sue Laundrie’s parents.
The judge made the decision due to Laundrie’s attorney making “objectively outrageous” statements while they were searching for Gabby.
According to The Sun, Petitos’ lawyer, Patrick Reilly said Steven Bertolino gave false hope to Gabby’s family when he shared that he hoped she would be “reunited with her family,” knowing that she was in fact dead.
“On behalf of the Laundrie family, it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is reunited with her family,” Bertolino said at the time.
They will be suing the Laundries for $30,000 in damages due to the pain and distress they have caused them.
“Because the Laundries’ statement by their attorney in the context of the unique faces of this case is objectively outrageous, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs [Petitos] have stated causes of actions for intentional infliction of emotional distress against the Laundries,” Judge Carroll wrote in his decision.
He continued that they made no attempt to offer information to the Petito family during the course of the investigation, and stayed silent about the location of her body.
“It’s about a course of conduct that they committed from when they learned on August 28, 2021, that their son had brutally murdered Gabby Petito,” he said.
What do you think of the move?