He told them everything.
Brian Laundrie let his parents know that he had killed his girlfriend Gabby Petito of Blue Point the day after the slaying occurred in Wyoming late last summer, according to court documents.
Moreover, the documents — a civil lawsuit filed Thursday against Laundrie’s parents by Petito’s father Joseph and mother Nichole Schmidt — allege that Laundrie, 23, murdered the 22-year-old blogger on Aug. 27 with blunt force trauma to her head and neck.
“Brian Laundrie advised his parents, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie, that he had murdered Gabrielle Petito,” states the lawsuit filed in Sarasota County Circuit Courts.
“On that same date, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie spoke with Attorney Steve Bertolino and sent him a retainer on Sept. 2, 2021.”
Laundrie and Petito had spent much of the summer traveling and living together in Petito’s converted van on a cross country trip that took them to Colorado, Wyoming and other locales. Laundrie returned to their North Port home alone in the van on Sept. 1.
Petito was reported missing 10 days later, after her family had not heard from her in weeks. Her disappearance on the trip became a national obsession, augmented by the later search for Laundrie in a Florida nature preserve.
Laundrie went missing, even as authorities and people protesting on Petito’s behalf were outside his and his parents’ home round-the-clock.
Petito’s remains were found in Sept. 19 in Bridger-Teton National Forest on the east boundary of Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming, the FBI reported. Authorities eventually found Laundrie’s skeletal remains in a preserve in Sarasota County, Florida, not far from his home, on Oct. 21.
In a written journal entry found with his remains, Laundrie admitted being responsible for Petito’s death, the FBI said last month. The FBI concluded that Laundrie strangled Petito — with whom he had previous domestic quarrels and violence — and that Laundrie fatally shot himself in the Carlton Reserve swamp.
Petito’s parents allege in their lawsuit that the Laundries even attempted to arrange for their son to leave the country.
“While Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt were desperately searching for information concerning their daughter, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie were keeping the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie secret, and it is believed were making arrangements for him to leave the country,” the lawsuit states.
No evidence was included to back up this claim.
By hiding their son’s alleged confession to them, the Laundrie’s “acted with malice or great indifference to the rights of (Gabby’s parents),” the lawsuit claims, adding that this conduct was “shocking, atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community.”
The lawsuit seeks damages of at least $30,000. An attorney for the Laundries, Steven Bertolino, told the Associate Press in a text message Friday that his clients were fully within their rights not to talk. He also denied the lawsuit’s claims in general.
“This 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,” Bertolino said. “This fundamental legal principle renders the Petitos’ claims to be baseless under the law.”
Petito and Laundrie were both from Blue Point, but moved to Laundrie’s parents’ Gulf Coast home in 2019.
The lawsuit alleges that until that trip and her disappearance, the families “had a cordial relationship.”
“Gabrielle Petito had hopes of becoming a travel influencer, a ‘van-lifer’ and document her cross-country travels” on various social media sites, the lawsuit contends.
Petito had been in regular contact with her parents and posted frequently on social media about the couple’s travels, including on YouTube, Instagram and TikTok. The couple had a regular following before the murder mystery took hold.
The FBI said Laundrie sent text messages from Petito’s cellphone to her parents and others in an effort to pretend she was still alive. He was also charged with illegally using one of her credit cards before his remains were discovered in the Florida nature preserve.
With the Associated Press
Top photo: Instagram/@gabspetito