Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie lawsuit reaches court for first time

Posted at 7:17 AM, Jun 22, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-22 14:56:30-04

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — A lawsuit filed by the parents of Gabby Petito against the parents of her suspected killer, Brian Laundrie, headed to court for the first time Wednesday.

Judge Hunter Carroll heard arguments from both sides after attorneys for Chris and Roberta Laundrie submitted a motion to dismiss the lawsuit that was filed in March by Petito’s parents, Joe Petito and Nichole Schmidt.

In their lawsuit, Petito's family claims the Laundries knew their son murdered Gabby, but didn't tell detectives and refused to help the investigation.

The suit also claims the Laundries helped Brian avoid police, and in doing so, inflicted intentional emotional stress. Petito's family is seeking damages of at least $100,000.

If the case is not dismissed, it is expected to head to trial some time next year.

At the end of Wednesday's hearing, Carroll said he will try to make a decision within two weeks about whether the case can continue.


July 2, 2021: Gabby Petito and her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, leave Blue Point, New York, for a cross-country trip in a camper van.

Aug. 12, 2021:Police pull over the couple's white van near Arches National Park in Utah after they were involved in an argument that became physical.

Police in Utah release bodycam video involving Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie

Aug. 24, 2021: Petito is last seen with Laundrie checking out of a hotel in Salt Lake City.

Aug. 25, 2021: Petito's mother speaks to her daughter for the last time via phone and learns she is in Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.

Sept. 1, 2021: Brian returns to the couple's North Port, Fla. home, where his parents also live.

Sept. 11, 2021: Petito's family reports her missing after not being able to get in touch with her. North Port authorities went to the Laundrie's home that night and asked to speak to Brian and his family, but were rebuffed.

Sept. 14, 2021: Brian Laundrie's parents claim this was the last day they saw him, but didn't report him missing until Sept. 17, 2021.

Sept. 16, 2021: Police in North Port held a news conference during which Petito's father begged for her safe return -- and for Laundrie to speak up and stop hindering the investigation.

Sept. 19, 2021: Remains believed to be Petito recovered in Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park.

Sept. 21, 2021: Coroner confirms remains are Petito with preliminary findings indicating cause of death to be homicide.

Oct. 20, 2021: Brian's body found at Florida's Carlton Reserve on Oct. 20. Investigators say he killed himself and left a note that said he also killed Petito.

The FBI concluded that Laundrie strangled Petito during their cross-country trip and that Laundrie died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.