As a civil lawsuit filed by the parents of Gabby Petito progresses, the depositions of the parents of admitted killer Brian Laundrie have been rescheduled away from a grisly anniversary.
The rescheduling also comes just days after newly surfaced video showed some of the ill-fated couple’s final moments together.
According to the authorities, Laundrie, 23, wrote in a notebook that he killed Petito, 22, in Wyoming’s Spread Creek Dispersed Camping Area. The young couple was in the midst of documenting a cross-country van trip and posting about it on social media. Laundrie returned alone to Florida on Sept. 1, 2021, and vanished on Sept. 13. His Ford Mustang convertible turned up near the vast Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County on Sept. 14. The car was situated near the entrance to the Myakkahatchee Environmental Park, which is adjacent to the Carlton Reserve. There, Laundrie penned a confession and took his own life.
Searchers found Petito’s body on Sept. 21, 2021. Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue later determined that Petito’s cause of death was strangulation and that the manner of death was homicide.
Twin documents filed in Sarasota County, Florida on Tuesday and Wednesday — the first filings in the case since late July — say depositions planned for parents Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie have been rescheduled.
The sit-and-talk sessions had originally been earmarked for Thurs., Oct. 20, 2022 — one year to the day from when Brian Laundrie’s bones were found. The depositions have now been set for Thurs., Dec. 1, at the offices of a law firm retained by Petito’s parents.
Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt sued the Laundries on March 11, 2022. An amended complaint filed on April 28 accuses the Laundrie parents of several torts, including pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, and loss of capacity for enjoyment of life.
Petito’s parents alleged that Laundrie’s parents “were keeping the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie secret” and “were making arrangements for him to leave the country.”
“It is believed, and therefore averred that on or about August 28, 2021, Brian Laundrie advised his parents . . . that he had murdered Gabrielle Petito,” the original lawsuit alleged. “On that same date, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie spoke with Attorney Steve Bertolino, and sent him a retainer on September 2, 2021.”
Petito’s parents also alleged that the Laundries embarked on a vacation while knowing Gabby was dead in Wyoming and that a multi-state search was being conducted to find her. They also skewered the Laundries for releasing a Sept. 14, 2021 statement through their lawyer that expressed “hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is reunited with her family.”
The civil lawsuit countered that sentiment.
“For the Laundries to express their ‘hope’ that Gabrielle Petito was located and reunited with her family, at a time when they knew she had been murdered by their son was beyond outrageous,” the lawsuit alleges.
The Laundries responded by saying their actions “could never establish a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress.” That is because their actions and silence “were legally permissible, constitutionally protected, not outrageous, and do not give rise to any cause of action,” according to a reply document filed in court.
A judge ruled in June that the lawsuit alleged enough of a claim to nose forward through the courts.
The concomitant depositions — when they indeed occur — may force the Laundries to admit under oath what their son did — or did not — tell them about Gabby’s disappearance.
The rescheduling of those depositions comes as authorities in Wyoming released video that shows some of Petito’s last moments alive.
The recordings, which are embedded below and which bear an Aug. 27, 2021 date, show the couple’s white van pull into a Whole Foods parking lot. Laundrie parks the van, exits the driver’s seat, opens a rear door, and appears to retrieve a hat. Petito, carrying a large light-colored bag, walks into video and accompanies Laundrie toward the driver’s seat. Petito, with her arms crossed, then approaches the store with Laundrie, whose hands were in his pockets.
Interior footage then shows the two walking through the store. At times, they appeared to reference items together; at one point, Petito turns to go down an aisle while Laundrie languishes behind for a moment.
Laundrie then mostly appears to follow Petito through the likely unfamiliar store. At one point, Petito appears to yawn, and she and Laundrie split up in an apparent search for whatever was on their shopping list.
Petito is next seen in the store’s cheese section. Laundrie joins here there as the two examine the store’s selections.
The shopping trip lasted about fifteen minutes. However, FOX News noted that the two sat in the parking lot for about half an hour before finally departing.
FOX News also noted that the grocery run occurred shortly after Laundrie became embroiled in a well-documented argument at a Tex-Mex restaurant that afternoon.
It is unclear from the court record precisely why the depositions in the civil suit were rescheduled; the connection to the Oct. 20 date and to the release of the Wyoming Whole Foods videos could just be odd coincidences.
The video is available here via the Law&Crime Channel on YouTube:
The documents which note the rescheduling of the depos are here.
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