Gabby Petito's Family Sues the Parents of Brian Laundrie, Claiming They Knew Their Son Had Murdered Gabby

Nichole Schmidt, foreground, and Joseph Petito, right, begging for help in locating their missing daughter before her body was found.Getty

The lawsuit filed by the parents of Gabby Petito claims the mother and father of Brian Laundrie knew he had committed murder.

The parents of Gabby Petito have sued the family of Brian Laundrie, claiming his mother and father knew he had murdered Gabby and tried to help him escape, according to a civil lawsuit.

The suit, filed last week in Florida's Sarasota County Circuit Court, alleges Laundrie told his parents on Aug. 28 that he had killed 22-year-old Petito, who was his fiancée of nearly a year.

"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 suit claims.

Schmidt, Gabby's mother, reported the woman missing on Sept. 11 after not being able to reach her daughter. Gabby's body was found eight days later in Wyoming.

The couple left last summer on a road trip across the country. Gabby, who hoped to become a social media influencer, posted photos online, documenting the couple's journey in a camper van as they stopped in picturesque Western locations.

Brian Laundrie returned alone to his parents' Florida home on Sept. 1, 10 days before Gabby's body was found by searchers in Grand Teton National Park. 

The Laundries referred investigators to a family lawyer, and Brian declined to meet with police, even after he was named a person of interest in Gabby's disappearance and death.

According to the lawsuit, Laundrie's parents acted with" malice or great indifference to the rights of Joseph Petito and Nicole Schmid," and called their conduct “shocking, atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”

Brian Laundrie was reported missing on Sept. 17 by his parents, who said they had not seen him for three days, according to authorities. The couple said their son had gone for a hike and never came back.

The remains of Brian Laundrie were found on Oct. 20 following a nationwide search. An autopsy later determined he had shot himself to death, and investigators said a notebook found with him contained entries by Laundrie saying he was responsible for Gabby's death.

Gabby died from strangulation and blunt-force trauma to the head and neck, according a coroner's report.

The lawsuit seeks damages of at least $30,000, according to The Associated Press. Attorney Steven Bertolino, who represents the Laundries, said clients had no legal obligation to speak with Gabby's parents, and said the lawsuit's claims were "baseless."

Gabby's parents said in the suit that Brian's parents had blocked their calls and text messages during the search for their daughter and refused to answer questions about her whereabouts.

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