Brian Laundrie's Family Isn't Backing Down About Gabby Petito's Death Lawsuit

It's been almost a year since Brian Laundrie returned from a cross-country trip he'd taken with Gabby Petito, with the latter nowhere in sight. The case, which captured the attention of news outlets and social media for months, left both Petito and her murderer, Laundrie, dead. Petito's parents, however, are not giving up their fight for justice.

According to CNN's timeline of the case, Laundrie returned home from the trip without Petito and camped out at his parents house for about a week in early September 2021. When Petito's parents realized their daughter had not returned with him and were unable to reach her, they reported her missing and begged Laundrie's parents to help them in the investigation. CNN documented their letter, which read, "Please, if you or your family have any decency left, please, tell us where Gabby is located."

Tragically, the Laundries were not helpful in their search, or in the search for their own son when he fled their residence. In January 2022, NPR reported the FBI's announcement that they discovered a notebook alongside Laundrie's body, in which he confessed to murdering Petito. Now, Petito's parents are attempting to hold the Laundries responsible for their role in the cover-up. Just recently, per ABC News, Petito's mother filed a new lawsuit alleging wrongful death. But in conversations surrounding their existing litigation, it's clear the Laundries aren't interested in taking responsibility.

The Laundrie family maintains their innocence

In March, the WFLA reported on a lawsuit filed by Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt — Gabby Petito's parents — against Brian Laundrie's parents. According to the documents they obtained, the lawsuit alleges, "Brian Laundrie advised his parents, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie, that he had murdered Gabrielle Petito." The filing also states that the Laundries obtained an attorney on the same day. 

According to People, the Laundries skipped the first hearing on the civil lawsuit. Although they were not legally mandated to attend, this adds to their long history of silence. In People's reporting of the filing, they also noted that Laundrie's mother had blocked the phone number and Facebook profile of Schmidt when Petito's mother was persistent in trying to find answers. 

Per ABC News, the lawsuit is seeking a minimum of $30,000 in damages from the Laundrie estate, but the parents are maintaining their innocence. In fact, NBC News reported the Laundries were hoping to get the entire case dismissed. Their defense lawyer made the argument that "as a matter of law, the Laundries' silence [conduct] could not form the basis of a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress." Their attorney, Steven Bertolino, even went on to assert that the family "did everything the right way" and that "they have no regrets," per the Daily MailABC News reported that a judge will decide the fate of the suit in the coming weeks. 

If you or someone you know is dealing with domestic abuse, you can call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233. You can also find more information, resources, and support at their website.