Brian Laundrie’s parents skip hearing on civil lawsuit alleging they knew about Gabby Petito’s murder
Petito’s family is taking steps to bring a lawsuit against the family of Brian Laundrie to trial
The family of Gabby Petito is still seeking justice.
Several months after an autopsy ruled that Petito was killed by strangulation, the young woman’s family is taking steps to bring a lawsuit against the family of Brian Laundrie, Petito’s boyfriend, to trial.
Catch up quick: The couple took a cross-country roadtrip last summer, traveling throughout Utah, Idaho and Wyoming, among other locations. But at the end of the trip, only Laundrie returned to their home in Florida, on Sept. 1, 2021, the Deseret News reported.
- “I was imploring with her to reevaluate the relationship, asking her if she was happy in the relationship with him, and basically saying this was an opportunity for her to find another path, to make a change in her life,” Melissa Hulls, a National Park Service ranger who was at Arches National Park in Moab, told the Deseret News.
- “She had a lot of anxiety about being away from him, I honestly thought if anything was going to change it would be after they got home to Florida.”
- Petito’s remains were discovered on the outskirts of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming on Sept. 19.
- Laundrie, a person of interest in Petito’s death, later went missing. His remains were found in Sarasota, Florida, and an autopsy ultimately ruled he died by suicide from a gunshot to the head.
- In January, the FBI determined Laundrie was responsible for Petito’s death, referencing a confession he had written in his notebook before taking his life, People magazine reported.
What now: Petito’s family believes Laundrie’s parents knew their son killed Petito, and attempted to help him escape, Fox News reported.
- The family attended a hearing on June 22 to discuss whether their civil lawsuit should go to a jury trial. The Laundries have filed a motion for the lawsuit to be dismissed.
- Sarasota County Circuit Court Judge Hunter W. Carroll said he would provide a decision within the next two weeks, according to Fox News.
- Laundrie’s parents did not attend the hearing and were not legally required to attend, People reported.
More about the lawsuit: Petito’s parents are seeking “more than $30,000 in damages for the mental anguish they suffered due to the alleged deceit of the Laundries,” according to People.
- The lawsuit, filed in March, alleges that Laundrie’s parents helped their son hide the homicide, and were also making plans for him to leave the country.
- “Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie 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,” the filing reads, per People.
- A lawyer representing the Laundries has argued that “the law did not oblige them to disclose any information on Gabby Petito and that they had a First Amendment right not to speak,” ABC News reported.
- “They don’t have to come and affirmatively state everything they know about everything,” attorney Matthew Luka said in court, according to CNN. “That’s just not the way our society works. It’s not how the constitution works. People are protected until they’re not.”