In a significant development in the ongoing legal saga surrounding Gabby Petito’s tragic death, new allegations have emerged in the lawsuit filed by her family against Brian Laundrie’s parents. The amended complaint, filed by Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, accuses Chris and Roberta Laundrie and their attorney Steve Bertolino of having prior knowledge about Petito’s demise and her location, while misleading her parents with false hopes of her being alive.
According to the latest filing, Brian Laundrie, in a distressed phone call on August 29, 2021, informed his parents that Gabby was “gone” and urgently requested legal representation. Subsequently, on September 2, 2021, the Laundries retained Bertolino, who then engaged Wyoming-based criminal defense firm Fleener Peterson LLC. This move was made a week before Petito was officially reported missing, raising questions about the Laundries’ awareness of the situation.
The complaint outlines a timeline of events leading up to Petito’s disappearance, including Laundrie’s return to his Florida home in her van and subsequent camping trips with his family. It alleges that during this period, Brian Laundrie sent deceptive text messages to create an illusion that Petito was still alive.
Central to the lawsuit is Bertolino’s statement on September 14, 2021, expressing hope for Petito’s safe return, a claim the Petito family finds egregious considering the alleged knowledge of her death. Bertolino has defended his actions, citing his professional duty as a defense attorney, and denied any knowledge of the murder from the Laundries.
Brian Laundrie later confessed to killing Petito in a suicide note found near his remains in Florida. The case, which garnered nationwide attention, led to Petito’s parents becoming advocates for missing persons and domestic violence victims.
The next hearing in the lawsuit is scheduled for December 20, with further revelations expected as the case progresses. The National Domestic Violence Hotline is available at 1−800−799−7233 for those in need.