Crime

Lawsuit: Brian Laundrie called parents to say Gabby Petito was 'gone'

Gabby Petito's remains were found on Sept. 19, 2021. The cause of death was blunt force injuries to the head and neck with manual strangulation.

Brian Laundrie talks to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito.
Brian Laundrie talks to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with his girlfriend, Gabrielle "Gabby" Petito.
Moab Police Department via AP
SMS

In an amended complaint filed in their civil lawsuit, Gabby Petito‘s family has alleged that Brian Laundrie told his parents that Gabby was dead before he even returned home.

The Petito family had previously filed a lawsuit against the Laundrie family, alleging that they knew Gabby was dead but stayed silent during a national search for her, even making statements that they hoped the family would be reunited. No criminal charges have been filed against Laundrie’s parents, Roberta and Christopher.

The lawsuit was amended to include Steven Bertolino, the attorney who represented the Laundrie family and made statements on their behalf during the national search for Gabby.

In the new complaint, filed on Nov. 30, the Petitos allege that on Aug. 29, 2021, in a frantic telephone call, Brian Laundrie advised his parents, Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, that Gabby was “gone” and he needed a lawyer. That same day, Christopher and Roberta Laundrie spoke with Steven Bertolino, advising him that their son told them Gabby was "gone" and that Brian needed a lawyer. According to the complaint, the Laundries then sent Bertolino a retainer on Sept. 2, 2021.

Gabby Petito's Legacy: $100K gift to domestic abuse hotline
Gabby Petito's Legacy: $100K gift to domestic abuse hotline

Gabby Petito's Legacy: $100K gift to domestic abuse hotline

The Petito Foundation's donation will go toward reducing wait times and expanding the hotline's "Hope Can't Wait" initiative.

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The Petito family contends that on Sept. 2, 2021, Bertolino acted on Brian Laundrie’s behalf when he entered into a fee agreement with a criminal defense firm in Laramie, Wyoming, to represent Laundrie. Before retaining the firm, Bertolino is alleged to have “contacted other attorneys in Wyoming to represent Brian Laundrie, including a public defender’s office in the same county where Gabby Petito’s body was ultimately discovered.

Gabby Petito’s remains were found in Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park on Sept. 19, 2021. Petito’s cause of death was blunt force injuries to the head and neck with manual strangulation, and according to the lawsuit, investigators believe she was killed on Aug. 27.

According to the lawsuit, “Christopher Laundrie, Roberta Laundrie and Steven Bertolino exhibited conduct which was outrageous and went beyond all bounds of decency and is regarded as odious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community, in that they remained silent concerning Gabrielle Petito’s death and the location of her body, but then made statements giving hope to Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt that Gabrielle Petito was still live (sic), and expressed it was a difficult time for the Laundrie family, knowing their son had murdered Gabrielle Petito.”

A jury trial is scheduled for May 13, 2024.


This story was originally published by Lauren Silver at Court TV.