Gabby Petito's parents allege that the mother and father of her presumed killer, Brian Laundrie, helped their son hide the murder, according to court documents obtained by E! News.
On March 10, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt filed a civil lawsuit in Florida against Christopher and Roberta Laundrie. The lawsuit alleges that the Laundries helped their son Brian cover up the murder of Gabby Petito, 22. The Petito family also claims in the suit that the Laundries hid Brian's location after he went missing in September. They are seeking "compensation for the damages they have suffered" as well as additional relief.
"While Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt were desperately searching for information concerning their daughter," the lawsuit states, "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."
In September 2021, Gabby's disappearance garnered national attention when she was declared missing while on a cross-country road trip with her fiancé Brian.
In their complaint, Gabby's parents allege that Christopher and Roberta knew about their daughter's death for almost a month before her remains were discovered, stating, "on or about August 28, 2021, Brian Laundrie advised his parents, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie, that he had murdered Gabrielle Petito."
On the same day, the Laundries spoke with their attorney Steve Bertolino, the lawsuit states.
The legal documents describe Gabby's parents as "extremely distraught" as they attempted to locate her. During the search, the suit claims, "the Laundrie family went on vacation to Fort DeSoto Park on September 6-7, 2021."
Around September 10, Roberta Laundrie blocked Gabby's mom from contacting her by cell phone or on Facebook, the complaint alleges. The Laundries later asked that all contact be made through their lawyer.
"Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie knew of the mental suffering and anguish of Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, and knew that they could alleviate [it]…by disclosing what they knew about the well-being and the location of the remains of Gabrielle Petito, yet they repeatedly refused to do so," the complaint states. "In doing so, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie acted with malice or great indifference to the rights of Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt."
In a statement to E! News, Christopher and Roberta Laundrie's lawyer Steve Bertolino said, "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," he stated. "This fundamental legal principle renders the Petito's claims to be baseless under the law."
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