Gabby Petito’s family files lawsuit claiming Brian Laundrie’s parents knew he killed vlogger

Chris and Roberta Laundrie have slammed the ‘baseless’ allegations

Bodycam footage shows chaotic inside of Gabby Petito’s van
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Gabby Petito’s family have filed a civil lawsuit claiming the parents of Brian Laundrie knew he had killed the vlogger before she had been reported missing.

Ms Petito’s parents Joe Petito and Nichole Schmidt also accuse Chris and Roberta Laundrie of planning to help Brian leave the country in the lawsuit, which was first reported by WFLA.

Chris and Roberta Laundrie have described the allegations as “baseless” in a statement released by their attorney Steve Bertolino.

Brian Laundrie and Gabby Petito

The lawsuit filed on Thursday in Sarasota County Circuit Court alleges Brian Laundrie informed his parents of the murder “on or about” 28 August.

The Petitos claim Christopher and Roberta Laundrie concealed that their son had confessed to the murder from investigators and Petito’s parents while the search for Ms Petito was ongoing.

“In doing so, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie acted with malice or great indifference to the rights of (Gabby’s parents) Joseph Petito and Nicole Schmidt,” the lawsuit claims, adding that this conduct was “shocking, atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilised community.”

The suit contains several new claims that have never previously been revealed by the FBI.

After Ms Petito’s body was found in the Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on 19 September, her cause of death was given as “manual strangulation”.

The lawsuit alleges Ms Petito’s body also showed signs of blunt force trauma to her head and neck.

The lawsuit adds that the Laundries were “making arrangements for him (Brian) to leave the country.” No evidence was included to back up this claim.

The Petitos are seeking damages of up to $100,000.

An attorney for the Laundries, Steven Bertolino, said on Friday that his clients were fully within their rights not to talk to authorities.

“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,” Mr Bertolino said.

“This fundamental legal principle renders the Petitos’ claims to be baseless under the law.”

Joe and Tara Petito, left, and Jim and Nichole Schmidt, right, during an interview with Dr Oz

The FBI said Laundrie claimed responsibility for his girlfriend’s murder in a note found near his body, which was found in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, on 20 October.

Ms Petito and Laundrie set off on a “van-life” trip from Long Island in July 2021, which was intended to end on Halloween on the Pacific coast.

The lawsuit says that until that trip and her disappearance, the families “had a cordial relationship.”

“Gabrielle Petito had hopes of becoming a travel influencer, a ‘van-lifer’ and document her cross-country travels” on various social media sites, the lawsuit says.

Ms Petito had been in regular contact with her parents and posted frequently on social media about their travels, including YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. The couple had a regular following before the murder mystery took hold.

The FBI says Laundrie sent text messages from Ms Petito’s cellphone to her parents and others in an effort to pretend she was still alive. He was also charged with illegally using one of her credit cards before his remains were discovered in the Florida nature preserve.

Associated Press contributed to this report

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