The attorney representing Gabby Petito’s family, Pat Reilly, has revealed that Brian Laundrie’s parents, Chris and Roberta Laundrie, admitted during depositions that their son informed them that Petito was “gone” and that he needed a lawyer. The phone call, described as “frantic,” took place on August 29, 2021, two days after Petito was believed to have been murdered. However, the Laundries did not admit to knowing that Petito had been killed, only that Brian Laundrie told them she was “gone.”
According to court documents and the depositions, Chris and Roberta Laundrie then informed their longtime lawyer, Steven Bertolino, about Petito being “gone” and Brian Laundrie’s need for an attorney. A retainer was sent to Bertolino six days later. Reilly believes that the Laundries and possibly Bertolino were told more by Brian Laundrie and has filed a motion to force Bertolino to reveal what he was told. A hearing on the motion and the upholding of Brian Laundrie’s attorney-client privilege is scheduled for December 20 in Florida’s Sarasota County Circuit Court.
Reilly expressed his desire to know what Brian Laundrie told Bertolino, suggesting that he may have admitted more and questioning whether Bertolino knew the location of Gabby’s body. Ryan Gilbert, the attorney representing the Laundries in the Petito civil suit, has not responded to a request for comment, while Bertolino declined to comment.
The Petito family alleges, according to court documents, that Brian Laundrie used Petito’s phone to send text messages to her family after her killing in an attempt to deceive them. One of the messages sent was to Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, referring to Gabby Petito’s grandfather as “Stan.” Schmidt found this text highly suspicious, as Petito never called her grandfather by his first name.
Nichole Schmidt and Joe Petito, Gabby Petito’s parents, have filed a lawsuit against the Laundries and Bertolino, accusing them of intentional infliction of emotional distress. They claim that the Laundries and Bertolino were aware that Gabby Petito was dead but chose to do nothing other than release a statement expressing hope for her safe return. The trial, which has faced several postponements, is ongoing.