NORTH PORT, FL — The family of Gabby Petito said that they believe the parents of her confessed killer, Brian Laundrie, knew he had killed her and should be held accountable in an announcement Friday — a day after the filing of a lawsuit seeking civil damages in Florida.
In a statement to Patch from Petito’s family, they say that on Aug. 27 Laundrie “murdered” Petito, who “would have been part of the Laundrie family,” but “it meant nothing to Christopher and Roberta Laundrie after their son ended Gabby’s life.”
The Federal Bureau of Investigation announced in January that Laundrie admitted to killing Petito in a notebook found near his remains.
“We believe Christopher and Roberta became aware of Gabby’s murder on Aug. 28, 2021,” the statement continues. “There were multiple conversations between Brian, his parents, and their lawyer, Steven Bertolino, before Brian left Wyoming on Aug. 30, 2021. Christopher and Roberta had multiple opportunities to disclose to Joe, Nichole, or the authorities that Gabby was no longer alive and to direct them to her body.”
“Instead, Christopher and Roberta Laundrie showed callous indifference to the suffering of Gabby’s family and compounded her family’s anguish, pain, and suffering by their actions. For this, Christopher and Roberta must be held accountable,” the statement concluded.
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A lawsuit was filed Thursday by the 23-year-old Petito’s father, Joseph Petito, and her mother, Nichole Schmidt, alleging that around Aug. 28 Brian informed Christopher and Roberta Laundrie of the slaying and on that same date, the Laundries spoke with Bertolino, then retained him on Sept. 2, WFLA.com first reported on Friday.
The lawsuit does not include evidence to back up the allegations, according to the outlet.
The lawsuit alleges that the Laundies knew their son murdered the native Long Islander and the pair had plans to help him go on the run outside of the United States, the outlet reported.
Petito, a Blue Point native, disappeared in August on a cross-country trip with Laundrie, her fiancé, who returned to his parents’ home in Florida in her van on Sept. 1, but without her. After a frantic interstate search, involving multiple law enforcement agencies, Petito was found strangled to death near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Sept. 19 — eight days after she was reported missing by her mother.
In their lawsuit, Petito’s family claims there was also evidence of blunt force injuries to her head and neck, WFLA.com reports.
Not long after his arrival in Florida, Laundrie, who had refused to speak with police after Petito was reported missing, drove to a nearby nature preserve where investigators believe he shot himself in the head, and his partial remains were found about one month later.
In January, the Federal Bureau of Investigation announced Laundrie admitted to slaying Petito in a notebook found near his remains.
The Petito/Schmidt family lawsuit claims Laundrie texted back and forth between his phone and Petito’s after her death “in an effort to hide the fact that she was deceased,” and mentions a text he is believed to have sent to Schmidt on Aug. 27 that refers to Petito’s grandfather by his first name, Stan, WFLA.com reports. Schmidt has stated in previous interviews that Petito never would have called him by his first name and at the time, it concerned her.
The lawsuit also mentions a text believed to be sent by Laundrie to Schmidt as he pretended to be Petito, claiming there was no service in Yosemite “in an effort to deceive her,” according to the outlet.