A photo of Gabby Petito, included in a Facebook about her disappearance by the North Port Police Department in Florida, the lead agency in the missing person case.
Photo by Courtesy North Port Police Department/TNS/ABACAPRESS.COM
The parents of Gabby Petito have amended their lawsuit against Brian Laundrie’s parents, and are now accusing the Laundries of knowing that Gabby was dead while they were off enjoying a vacation.
The Petitos allege that while the search was being conducted for their missing daughter, Brian’s parents knew their son had killed her and also knew “the whereabouts of the body,” reports NBC.
“They went on vacation knowing that Brian Laundrie had murdered Gabrielle Petito. It is believed that they knew where her body was located, and further knew that Gabrielle Petito’s parents were attempting to locate her,” the amended lawsuit says.
It also alleges that Brian sent a text message from Gabby’s phone to her parents in an attempt to cover up her death.
Gabby disappeared last year after a month-long cross-country trip with Brian, 23, across the United States. She was last seen alive on Aug. 26, 2021.
Her family reported her missing on Sept. 11, saying Gabby was not responding to calls or texts for more than a week after Brian, her fiancé, had reportedly returned to his family’s home in North Port, Florida, without her.
Brian returned home on Sept. 1 in the white van that the couple had rented for the trip.
In mid-September, Gabby’s remains were found in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest. A medical examiner confirmed she died from strangulation and blunt force trauma to the head.
By that time, Brian was missing. His parents told police their son disappeared on Sept. 17, three days after they said they had last seen him.
He was named as a person of interest in Gabby’s death, and a weeks-long, nationwide manhunt ensued. It ended when his remains were found along a trail in the swampy Florida wilderness on Oct. 21.
#UPDATE: On October 21, 2021, a comparison of dental records confirmed that the human remains found at the T. Mabry Carlton, Jr. Memorial Reserve and Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park are those of Brian Laundrie. @FBITampa pic.twitter.com/ZnzbXiibTM
— FBI Denver (@FBIDenver) October 21, 2021
A lawyer for the Laundrie family later confirmed that Brian died by suicide, from a gunshot wound to the head.
Gabby’s parents, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, are seeking $30,000 in damages for mental anguish suffered due to what they describe as deceit by the Laundries.
According to The Associated Press, the amended lawsuit expands on filings made in March that claim Brian’s parents, Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, helped their son conceal the murder and were making a plan to help him flee the country.
The lawsuit contends that Brian confessed the murder to his parents on Aug. 28, while the search for Gabby was underway.
People magazine reports the lawsuit claims the Laundries took their son with them on a camping vacation after the alleged confession, while ignoring pleas from the Petito family to help find their daughter. The filing claims Roberta blocked Nichole’s phone number and Facebook contact in order to avoid answering questions.
“Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie exhibited extreme and outrageous conduct, which constitutes behavior under the circumstances that goes beyond all possible bounds of decency and is regarded as shocking, atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community,” states the filing, which was obtained by People.
Brian was never charged in connection with Gabby’s death.
The case captured the world’s attention, thanks in part to the couple’s social media presence.
The pair had posted photos of their trip across the United States on their social media accounts, but chilling bodycam footage and a 911 call released to the public hinted to the possibility of a darker side to the relationship.
The pair were stopped outside of the Moonflower Community Cooperative in Moab, Utah, on Aug. 12 after a 911 caller told police they had seen Brian slapping and hitting Gabby.
Body camera footage showed Gabby crying as she described an argument that escalated into her slapping Brian while he was driving. Police asked the couple to separate for the night, but neither Gabby nor Brian were detained and no charges were filed.
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