Judge awards $3M to Gabby Petito’s family in suit against Brian Laundrie’s estate

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — Brian Laundrie’s estate will pay Gabby Petito’s family $3 million to settle a wrongful death lawsuit they brought against it.

The suit, filed in May, alleged Christopher and Roberta Laundrie knew their son Brian murdered Petito.

The family has also filed a civil lawsuit against the Laundries alleging the same thing. They’re also suing the Moab Police Department over its response to an incident involving the couple.

Petito went missing during the couple’s lengthy road trip, which they documented on their YouTube and Instagram pages. Her body was found Sept. 19 near Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.

Investigators searched for Laundrie for more than a month before his body was found in Sarasota County’s Carlton Reserve. The FBI said he shot himself in the head, and confessed to killing Petito in a notebook found near his remains.

“As a direct and proximate consequence of Brian Laundrie’s tortious conduct, Nichole Schmidt and Joseph Petito incurred funeral and burial expenses, and they have suffered a loss of care and comfort, and have suffered a loss of probable future companionship, society and comfort,” the suit said.

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The suit sought a trial by jury and “damages which exceed $30,000.”

On Thursday, the families reached an agreement to settle the wrongful death claim for $3 million and avoid going to trial.

“Hopefully, this brings some closure to this one chapter of this tragedy and I look forward to working with Pat Reilly to resolve the litigation pending against Chris and Roberta,” the Laundrie’s attorney Steven Bertolino said in a statement to WFLA.

Brian Laundrie’s assets are believed to be in the five figures, therefore it’s unlikely the family will receive $3 million. Petito’s parents said they plan to donate the money they receive to the Gabby Petito Foundation, which was created in their daughter’s honor to help families and friends of missing people.

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