Court is being held Wednesday in the lawsuit by Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito‘s parents against the parents of her boyfriend and presumed murderer Brian Laundrie. The defendants Christopher and Roberta Laundrie are trying to get the case dismissed. The hearing is scheduled to start at 1:30 p.m. ET. You can watch in the player above.
The plaintiffs–Gabby’s father Joseph Petito and mother Nichole Schmidt—assert that Christopher and Roberta Laundrie knew their son had murdered Gabby, knew the whereabouts of her body, and helped their son evade capture until he was found dead by suicide.
Gabby Petito, 22, and Brian Laundrie, 23, went on a cross-country trip last year in the western United States. They appeared to be close and loving in their nature-centric posts to social media, but Laundrie returned without Petito to where his parents lived in North Port, Florida. Authorities now say he strangled her to death in the wilderness in Wyoming, and used her debit card while driving east during the final days of August 2021. He reached Florida alone on Sept. 1.
Under the FBI’s timeline of events, Laundrie, 23, staged texts between his phone and Petito’s phone to make it seem like Petito was still alive.
“After Ms. Petito’s death, there were several text messages identified between Mr. Laundrie’s telephone and Ms. Petito’s telephone,” the FBI said. “The timing and content of these messages are indicative of Mr. Laundrie attempting to deceive law enforcement by giving the impression that Ms. Petito was still alive.”
Petito’s family reported her missing on Sept. 11, attracting intense nationwide attention. Protesters even showed up outside of the Laundrie family home, demanding to know the whereabouts of Gabby and Brian. Brian Laundrie’s Ford Mustang was found on Sept. 15 , 2021, at an entrance to the neighboring Myakkahatchee Creek Park and the T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve near North Port, authorities said. It was later on the 17th that his parents reported him missing after law enforcement conducted a welfare check on their home.
Investigators said they found Laundrie dead at the North Port park on Oct. 20 after his parents discovered an item belonging to him.
In their amended complaint, Petito’s family criticized Laundrie’s parents for a statement their released amid the disappearance.
“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,” they wrote.
“Although the Amended Complaint contains several accusations about Brian Laundrie’s conduct, he is not a defendant in this case, nor is there any legal theory that would impute his conduct to his parents,” the Laundries’ defense said in their motion to dismiss the complaint.
[Screenshot via Nomadic Staik]
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