The parents of Brian Laundrie have said in a response to a lawsuit against them that they did not know their son had killed Gabby Petito 13 days before she was reported missing, nor did they know where he dumped her body.
Petito’s parents Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt filed an amended lawsuit against Christopher and Roberta Laundrie late last month. Among the new revelations was the apparent fact that Brian Laundrie made a “frantic” phone call to his parents on Aug. 29, 2021, that Petito was “gone” and he needed a lawyer. The lawsuit said Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie knew their son had murdered his fiancee Petito, 22, while they made a cross-country trip in a van and that they may have known the location of the body.
Not so, the Laundries claimed in their response filed Friday in Sarasota County, Florida. Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie said they did not know Gabby Petito was missing until she was reported missing to law enforcement on Sept. 11, 2021. Authorities believe Brian Laundrie killed his fiancee on Aug. 27, 2021, and he arrived at his parents home Sept. 1, 2021, in her van. Her remains weren’t found until Sept. 19, 2021, at the Spread Creek Dispersed Camping area in Wyoming.
Left: FILE – In this image taken from police body camera video provided by the Moab Police Department, Brian Laundrie talks to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was traveling in with his girlfriend, Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito, near the entrance to Arches National Park in Utah on Aug. 12, 2021. (Moab Police Department via AP, File). Right: FILE- In this image taken from police body camera video provided by The Moab Police Department, Gabrielle “Gabby” Petito talks to a police officer after police pulled over the van she was traveling in with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, near the entrance to Arches National Park on Aug. 12, 2021. (The Moab Police Department via AP, File). Inset: FILE – Nichole Schmidt, mother of Gabby Petito, speaks alongside, from left, Tara Petito, stepmother, Joseph Petito, father, Richard Stafford, family attorney, and Jim Schmidt, stepfather, during a news conference, Tuesday, Sept. 28, 2021, in Bohemia, N.Y. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, File)
Gabby Petito’s parents sued Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie in March 2022, alleging that Brian Laundrie, 23, had told his parents that he killed his girlfriend while they were on a trip in Wyoming and that the Laundries not only didn’t share this information with Petito and Schmidt, they tried to make arrangements for their son to leave the country.
The third amended complaint maintains previous allegations that the Laundries knew not only that their son had killed Gabby Petito, but that they knew where her remains were located and withheld that information, even going on vacation.
“After Brian Laundrie murdered Gabrielle Petito, Brian Laundrie sent text messages back and forth between his cell phone and Gabrielle Petito’s cell phone in an effort to hide the fact that she was deceased,” the complaint says. “On August 27, 2021, it is believed that Brian Laundrie sent a text to Nichole Schmidt in which he referred to Gabrielle Petito’s grandfather, Stan, by name. Gabrielle Petito never called her grandfather by his name.”
Brian Laundrie died by suicide after returning home to Florida.
Law&Crime’s Marisa Sarnoff contributed to this report
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