Parents of a woman allegedly killed by her boyfriend now claim he confessed to his parents before their vacation.
Brian Laundrie and Gabrielle Petito set off on a cross-country road trip last July. By October, both of them had been found dead on opposite ends of the country.
The FBI identified Laundrie as the sole suspect in the death of Petito, 22, in July 2021. Her body was found at a campground north of Jackson, Wyoming, where the couple had stayed in late August. She reportedly showed signs of significant beating and strangulation, according to a Fox News report.
Laundrie arrived at his parents’ Florida home driving Petito’s van on or before Sept. 1, 2021, the report noted. By then Petitio was reportedly dead. Police arrived at the parents’ home ten days after her death, looking for her. Laundrie reportedly went camping with his family south of St. Petersburg in the time between returning home and police knocking on his parents’ door. The man police suspected of Petito’s murder did not make any public comments about her disappearance, invoking his right to remain silent. Police reported he declined to cooperate with their investigation.
The dead woman’s parents sued the man FBI agents determined murdered their daughter, reportedly based on writings found near his dead body. Police have not yet released the written material they attributed with their determination of his guilt.
“There were multiple conversations between Brian, his parents, and their lawyer Steven Bertolino before Brian left Wyoming on Aug. 30, 2021,” Petito family attorney Richard Stafford told Fox News earlier last year. “Christopher and Roberta had multliple opportunities to disclose to Joe, Nichole, or the authorities that Gabby was no longer alive and to direct them to her body.”
He added, Laundrie’s parents “must be held accountable.”
A Thursday filing in a Sarasota, Florida, court represents an attempt to bring them to an accounting. Petito’s parents and stepparents filed a Florida lawsuit in March asking for more than $100,000 in damages for alleged negligence, pain and suffering they claim Laundrie’s parents caused them.
“While Gabrielle Petito’s family was suffering, the Laundrie family went on vacation to Fort DeSoto Park on September 6-7, 2021,” said Petito attorney Patrick Reilly. “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.”
A lawyer for the Laundrie family disputed that claim, noting the Petito lawsuit provides no evidence to back up their claims. Attorney Steven Bertolino filed a motion to dismiss the Petito lawsuit in late March.
“The gravamen of the claimed wrongdoing is that the Laundries exercised their constitutional rights and essentially made no statements to Plaintiffs or law enforcement,” the motion states. “While the [families] allege some facts, those facts could never establish a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress because the Laundries’ ‘actions’ were legally permissible, constitutionally protected, not outrageous, and do not give rise to any cause of action.”
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