Family of Gabby Petito Accuse Her Killer's Parents of Planning to Help Him Escape - Report

© AP Photo / Brittainy NewmanMemorials for Gabby Petito are scattered across her hometown of Blue Point, New York on Sept. 23, 2021
Memorials for Gabby Petito are scattered across her hometown of Blue Point, New York on Sept. 23, 2021 - Sputnik International, 1920, 13.03.2022
The 22-year-old Gabby Petito was murdered in August 2021 by her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, while they were on a motor trip across the United States. Laundrie sparked suspicion after he drove Petito's van to his parents' home in North Port, Florida, remaining silent about her whereabouts. In late September 2021, he committed suicide .
Brian Laundrie's parents have been accused by Gabby Petito's family of knowing their son had killed his fiancée during the entire search period - and even intended to help him flee the country, the Sun reported, citing a new lawsuit.
This week, Petito's parents, Joseph Petito and Nicole Schmidt, filed a civil action against Chris and Roberta Laundrie, demanding at least $100,000 in damages.
According to the report, in the suit, there are previously unknown details in the infamous case of the vlogger's death by her lover, whose own death was confirmed in October 2021. Petito died of blunt force injuries to her head and neck, according to coroner findings filed in the civil lawsuit, despite the fact that her cause of death is officially ruled to be by manual strangulation.
Petito's body was discovered on September 19, 2021, at a campsite about 300 meters (1,000 feet) from where her van had been parked. Before her remains were recovered, she had likely been dead for three to four weeks.
Petito's mother's asserted that Roberta Laundrie blocked her phone number as well as her Facebook account. Prior to Petito and Laundrie's trip, the future in-laws reportedly enjoyed a friendly relationship.
"In an effort to avoid any contact with Nichole Schmidt, on or about September 10, 2021, Roberta Laundrie blocked Nichole Schmidt on her cellular phone such that neither phone calls nor texts could be delivered, and she blocked her on Facebook," the complaint said, per the report.
Brian Laundrie sent text conversations with Schmidt from Petito's phone, according to the lawsuit, in an attempt to cover up her death. Earlier, investigators said that Laundrie was accused of using "unauthorized debit cards after Gabby Petito’s death," as he was the only person of interest in the case.
Petito's murder was reportedly known to Laundrie's parents, because Brian Laundrie confessed to them after he returned from the journey. The parents hired a lawyer that same day.
"It is believed, and therefore averred that… Brian Laundrie advised his parents, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie, that he had murdered Gabrielle Petito," the lawsuit said. "On that same date, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie spoke with Attorney Steve Bertolino, and sent him a retainer on September 2, 2021."
After Brian Laundrie drove home to North Port alone, driving Petito's car on September 1, according to Petito's parents, the two families had not been in touch. The Laundrie family reportedly "went on vacation to Fort DeSoto Park" while the "plaintiffs were extremely distraught and were attempting to locate Gabrielle Petito."
The case reportedly claimed that the Laundries were covering for their son by concealing his location. They also suspect Brian's parents were planning his departure from the country.
Petito's parents allege that the Laundries knew that by divulging what they knew about Gabby's whereabouts and well-being, they may help ease some of Gabby's family's mental pain and sorrow. However, the family contends that Brian's parents acted with malice toward Gabby's parents' rights by refusing to do so.
Gabrielle Petito, 22, who was reported missing on Sept. 11, 2021 after traveling with her boyfriend around the country in a van and never returned home, poses for a photo with Brian Laundrie in this undated handout photo. - Sputnik International, 1920, 21.10.2021
Human Bones Found in Florida Wilderness Park Confirmed as Belonging to Brian Laundrie
In late January, the FBI revealed that Laundrie admitted to killing her in a notebook discovered near his body in a Florida swamp. It was the first time officials directly blamed Brian Laundrie for Petito's killing, despite the fact that he had been the leading suspect all along.
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