Gabby Petito's Parents Sue Brian Laundrie's Parents

By Jason Hall

March 11, 2022

Photo: @gabspetito/Instagram

Gabby Petito's parents have filed a lawsuit against Brian Laundrie's parents accusing Chris and Roberta Laundrie of being aware that their son murdered Petito and planned to help him evacuate the country.

Joseph Petito and his ex-wife, Nichole Schmidt, filed the civil lawsuit against the Laundries on Thursday (March 10), according to court documents obtained by, which include several allegations that weren't previously mentioned during the FBI's publicized search and investigation into the couple's deaths.

The documents claim Petito, 22, died at the hands of Laundrie, 23, on August 27 during their cross-country road trip, which coincides with the coroner's office determining Petito died by manual strangulation, but also claims she suffered blunt force injuries to the head and back.

Petito's parents' lawsuit claims Laundrie told his parents about the incident "on or about" August 28, which was nearly two full months before his remains were found in his home state of Florida.

“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 alleged via WFLA.

The Laundrie family is also accused of acting “with malice or great indifference to the rights of” to Petito's family in the lawsuit.

“Christopher 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 lawsuit states via WFLA.

Petito and Schmidt are seeking damages of at least $100,000 and accuse the Laundries of causing pain and mental anguish as a result of "willfulness and maliciousness" in relation to the case.

On October 12, Teton County Coroner Dr. Brent Blue -- who performed an autopsy on Petito -- announced her death was ruled as a death by strangulation and the manner of death to be a homicide during a press conference.

Laundrie, the lone person of interest in connection to Petito's disappearance and death, was discovered weeks later at the Carlton Reserve campsite near his family's Florida home and confirmed to have died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, his family's attorney, Steve Bertolino, confirmed to TMZ.

Dr. Blue said Petito's death is believed to have occurred 3-4 weeks prior to her remains being found on September 19 and confirmed to match her days later.

Dr. Blue confirmed the ruling was made while working alongside local and federal authorities. No other information will be released in adherence with state law.

Laundrie was the center of a publicized search by the Federal Bureau of Investigation and local authorities at the Carlton Reserve prior to his remains being discovered.

Dr. Blue said local law enforcement would decide who would be charged in connection to Petito's homicide case.

On September 30, police released additional bodycam footage which showed Petito telling an officer that an argument with Laundrie got physical.

The newer footage stems from the incident on August 12 in Moab, Utah in which police made contact with Petito and Laundrie after a bystander called the Moab Police Department and reported seeing a man hitting a woman.

Officers pulled over the van Laundrie and Petito were traveling in on their cross-country trip and Petito told officers that she initially slapped Laundrie before he retaliated.

"I guess, but I hit him first," Petito said when asked by an officer if Laundrie hit her in the face.

"Where did he hit you? Don’t worry. Just be honest," the officer asked.

"Well, he grabbed my face," Petito said.

"Did he slap your face? Or what?" the officer responded.

"Well like, yeah he grabbed me with his nail, and I guess that’s why I definitely have a cut right here because I can feel it when I touch it, it burns," she said, while holding her jaw and crying.

The video then shows Laundrie recanting his side of the incident.

"She gets really worked up, and when she does she swings, and she had her cellphone in her hand, so I was just trying to push her away," Laundrie said.

The newer video added to previously released bodycam footage showing the couple addressing the incident with police, which an officer described as a mental health crisis, not a domestic assault, according to a police report.

The city of Moab announced on September 28 an independent investigation would be conducted on officers' handling of the situation involving Petito and Laundrie.

In September, an arrest warrant was issued for Laundrie after a grand jury indicted him for his "use of unauthorized devices" during the events following the death of Petito.

The indictment obtained by CNN accuses Laundrie of using a debit card and PIN number for accounts that didn't belong to him between August 30 to September 1 in order to make purchases totaling more than $1,000.

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