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The Parents of Gabby Petito File a Lawsuit Against the Parents of their Daughter's Murderer

Gabby Petito’s parents, Joseph Petito and Nicole Schmidt, have filed a civil lawsuit in Sarasota County, Florida, for damages against Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, the parents of their daughter’s ex-boyfriend and murderer, Brian Laundrie. Petito’s parents are accusing Laundrie’s parents of hindering the search for their murdered daughter, claiming that they issued a statement on September 14th, supporting the search, “with full knowledge that Gabrielle had murdered by their son.” They argue that Laundrie’s parents’ actions in failing to disclose their daughter’s death and allowing the search for her to continue exhibited “extreme and outrageous conduct which constitutes behavior, under the circumstances, which goes beyond all possible bounds of decency and is regarded as shocking, atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community. They claim that “a direct and proximate cause of the willfulness and maliciousness of Laundrie’s parents, and that they endured “pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, loss of capacity for enjoyment of life and experienced in the past and to be experienced in the future.”

Petito’s body was found in Wyoming on September 19th and the coroner ruled the cause of her death as a homicide and the manner manual strangulation, that occurred three weeks prior to her body being recovered. A month later, Laundrie’s body had been discovered after a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Laundrie left notes saying he was responsible for Petito’ murder.

The court documents filed by their attorney allege that despite the fact that they implored the Laundries to tell them if their daughter was alive, and, if she was not, to tell them where her remains were, the Laundrie refused to respond to both Petitos parents and law enforcement. “It is believed that on or about August 28, 2021, Brian Laundrie advised his parents, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie, that he had murdered Gabrielle Petito."

The suit further alleges that the defendants “knew of the mental suffering and anguish the plaintiffs were experiencing while their daughter was missing but refused to disclose information about her whereabouts, and in doing so acted with malice or great indifference.” It also alleges that the Laundrie parents were keeping his whereabouts secret and that they “were making arrangements for them to leave the country.” The petition doesn’t ask for a specific dollar amount in damages, instead just that it would exceed $30,000.

In a statement responding to the suit, the Laundrie’s attorney said that “assuming everything that the Petitos allege is true, which we deny, the lawsuit does not change the fact that the Laundries had no obligation to speak to law enforcement or any third-party including the Petito family. This fundamental legal principle renders the Petitos claims to be baseless under the law.

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