Skip to content
Gabby Petito murder: Brian Laundrie’s parents to skip Florida hearing over fate of civil lawsuit


NEWYou can now listen to Fox News articles!

VENICE, Florida – FIRST ON FOX: The family of Gabby Petito, the young woman believed to have been murdered last year by her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, will be in Florida court on Wednesday when a judge hears arguments from both sides over whether whether their trial should go to a jury trial.

The Petito-Schmidt families and their attorney will appear before Judge Hunter W. Carroll in a Sarasota County Circuit Court for the 1:30 p.m. hearing, which Laundrie family attorney Steven Bertolino will attend virtually, learned Fox News Digital. Laundrie’s parents, Chris and Roberta, will not be present in the courtroom nor will they appear virtually, Bertolino told Fox News Digital.

Petito’s family alleged that Laundrie’s parents knew their son killed their daughter and tried to help her flee justice. Patrick Reilly, the attorney representing the Petito-Schmidt families in the civil case, told Fox News Digital on Wednesday, “I have no comment at this point and I don’t know if the judge will rule today.” .

UPDATE FROM GABBY PETITO: PARENTS FILE LAWSUITS AGAINST LAUNDRY FAMILY

Laundrie and Petito, 22, set off on a trip in mid-June 2021 with plans to tour national parks in a converted white Ford Transit. The couple had met years earlier on Long Island, New York, where they grew up and later moved into Brian’s parents’ home in North Port, Florida.

Screenshots from police body camera in Moab, Utah on August 12 show the couple following a domestic violence call.
(Moab PD)

During their travels through Utah, Moab police received a report of a domestic violence incident involving the couple. A witness told 911 that he saw a man, later identified as Brian Laundrie, hit and “slap” the woman, Petito, on August 12.

The call appears to contradict a police report in which an officer said “no one reported that the man hit the woman”.

One of the officers at the scene wrote that the incident might be “more accurately classified as a ‘mental/emotional health breakdown’ than a domestic assault.”

BRIAN LAUNDRIE’S AUTOPSY UPDATE: CAUSE OF DEATH WAS SUICIDE, SAYS FORENSIC ANTHROPOLOGIST

An outside investigation found “unintentional errors” and recommended that the officers involved in the case be placed on probation, according to a report released Jan. 12.

Laundrie returned to North Port on September 1 – with the van, but without Petito.

Parents Chris and Roberta Laundrie said Brian, 23, left his family’s North Harbor on September 13 to hike in Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, located next to the T. Mabry Carlton Memorial Preserve Jr.. The Laundries’ lawyer originally identified the date of Brian’s disappearance as September 14 before changing the timeline weeks later.

After her disappearance, state, local, county and federal law enforcement searched the reservation and Myakkahatchee extensively, where Laundrie allegedly parked her car at the time.

GABBY PETITO: FBI CLOSES HOMICIDE INVESTIGATION AS IT REVEALS BRIAN LAUNDRIE’S NOTEBOOK CONFESSION

His family only announced on September 17 – four days after he was believed to have left – that he had not returned.

Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, reported him missing to Suffolk County police in New York on September 11. Search teams discovered Petito’s body near Wyoming’s Grant Teton National Park on September 19 and announced shortly after that she had been the victim of a homicide.

The remains of Brian Laundrie were found on October 20, 2021 in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, located in the hometown of North Port, 23. His parents found Brian’s bag and other items while hiking with law enforcement in the area, where they had told authorities their son was known to hang out. Fox News Digital captured exclusive photos and video of the parents searching the swamp, where law enforcement ultimately made the grim discovery.

Laundrie was considered a fugitive and was a person of interest in the disappearance and death of Gabby Petito. The FBI had issued an arrest warrant for him on charges related to his unauthorized use of a bank card.

BRIAN LAUNDRIE NOTEBOOK: GABBY PETITO KILLER CONFESSED IN WRITING BEFORE SUICIDE, SAYS FBI

Petito’s parents filed a lawsuit earlier this year, accusing Chris and Roberta Laundrie of knowing their son killed Gabby and trying to help him flee.

“Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie have exhibited extreme and scandalous conduct which constitutes conduct, in the circumstances, which exceeds all possible limits of decency and is considered shocking, atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community”, the lawsuit alleges. “As a direct and immediate result of the will and wickedness of Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt were caused to suffer pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, loss of the ability to enjoy life lived in the past and to live in the future.”

READ THE TRIAL HERE:

The complaint further describes how Brian Laundrie is “supposed” to have “murdered Gabrielle Petito” on August 27, 2021.

Laundrie then sent fake text messages between her cell and Petito’s “in an effort to hide the fact” that she was dead, according to court documents and the FBI.

The complaint alleges that Laundrie confessed to his parents on August 28 and that the Laundries hired lawyer Steve Bertolino, a longtime friend, on September 2.

CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP

Bertolino told Fox News Digital on Friday that he had represented the Laundrie family “for many years” and called the civil lawsuit “without merit.”

“As I have maintained over the past few months, the Laundries have not publicly commented on my instructions, which is their right under the law,” he said. “Assuming that everything the Petitos allege in their lawsuit is true, which we deny, this lawsuit does not change the fact that the laundries had no obligation to speak to law enforcement or any third party, including including the Petito family. This fundamental legal principle renders the Petito’s claims without merit in law.”

Fox News reporter Laura Ingle contributed to this report.



Fox

Not all news on the site expresses the point of view of the site, but we transmit this news automatically and translate it through programmatic technology on the site and not from a human editor.