Brian Laundrie’s parents have asked the court to drop a lawsuit from the family of Gabby Petito, a 22-year-old vlogger who was presumably killed by Laundrie back in August 2021.
According to Fox News, the Laundries’ attorney Steven Bertolino submitted a motion to dismiss the civil suit on Wednesday, just weeks after Petito’s parents and stepparents filed the complaint. The plaintiffs, Joseph Peitio, and Nichole Schmidt, say Laundries’ parents—Roberta and Christopher Laundrie—knew their son had killed Petito during their cross-country road trip, and helped him dodge authorities during the investigation. They point to the fact that the defendants’ refused to speak to police during the early days of the probe and had retained an attorney just days after Petito’s murder.
“The gravamen of the claimed wrongdoing is that the Laundries exercised their constitutional rights and essentially made no statements to Plaintiffs or law enforcement,” the motion read. “While the [Petito-Schmidt families] allege some facts, those facts could never establish a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress because the Laundries’ ‘actions’ were legally permissible, constitutionally protected, not outrageous, and do not give rise to any cause of action.”
Petito’s family said they believe Laundrie contacted his parents in late August and confessed to murdering his fiancée. He allegedly returned to his family’s Florida home on Sept. 1, about two months after he and Petito embarked on a cross-country trip. Petito’s family reported their daughter missing on Sept. 11; her body was found eight days later in an underdeveloped camping area in Wyoming. An autopsy found she had died from manual strangulation.
Authorities were unable to locate Laundrie in the weeks after Petito was reported missing. His remains were ultimately discovered on Oct. 20 in a Florida nature preserve, where investigators also found some of his belongings, including a journal in which he purportedly confessed to killing Petito. An autopsy from the Sarasota County medical examiner determined he had died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Petito’s family is suing the Laundries for attorney fees and action damages exceeding $30,000.