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Family of Gabby Petito settles suit against Laundries to avoid trial

The civil lawsuit alleged that Christopher and Roberta Laundrie helped to conceal their son at their home after he admitted to killing Petito.
Family of Gabby Petito settles suit against Laundries to avoid trial
Posted at 1:48 PM, Feb 22, 2024

The parents of Gabby Petito have reached an agreement with the family of Brian Laundrie to avoid going to civil trial. The families participated in mediation on Wednesday.

Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt filed a lawsuit against  Christopher and Roberta Laundrie in March 2022 for their alleged "intentional infliction of emotional distress." Gabby's parents claimed the Laundrie family knew Gabby was "gone" but did nothing to help the national search for her.

Petito's body was discovered in 2021 outside Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming after she and fiance Brian Laundrie had embarked on a cross-country road trip. A coroner later stated her cause of death was strangulation. 

Following a monthlong search for Laundrie — who was the prime suspect in the case — he too was found dead in a Florida nature reserve due to what investigators determined to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.

SEE MORE: Gabby Petito's legacy: $100K gift to domestic abuse hotline

According to court records, on Sept. 14, 2021, Laundrie's parents, through their attorney Steven Bertolino, acknowledged it was a difficult time for both families, expressed hope that the search for Ms. Petito would be successful and that she would be reunited with her family, and explained the Laundrie family would be remaining in the background and would have no further comment on advice of counsel.

Then on Sept. 19, 2021, upon the discovery of Ms. Petito’s remains, Laundrie's parents, through Bertolino, stated that the news about Ms. Petito was heartbreaking and that the Laundrie family was praying for Ms. Petito and her family.

Bertolino sent Scripps News Tampa the following statement regarding the confidential agreement both sides reached on Wednesday.

"Christopher and Roberta Laundrie and I participated in mediation with the Petito family and the civil lawsuit has now been resolved," he said. "The terms of the resolution are confidential, and we look forward to putting this matter behind us."

Scripps News then obtained the following joint statement from Petito's mother and stepfather, Nichole and James Schmidt, as well as her father and stepmother, Joseph and Tara Petito.

"After a long day of mediation, a confidential resolution has been reached between the parents of Gabby Petito, the parents of Brian Laundrie and Attorney Steven Bertolino to which all parties reluctantly agreed in order to avoid further legal expenses and prolonged personal conflict. Our hope is to close this chapter of our lives to allow us to move on and continue to honor the legacy of our beautiful daughter, Gabby."

This story was originally published by Julie Salomone at Scripps News Tampa.

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