A Florida judge on Thursday refused to toss a civil lawsuit brought by Gabby Petito’s family accusing Brian Laundrie’s parents of knowing that their son had killed the Long Island woman.
Petito’s parents filed suit over statements the Laundries’ lawyer Steve Bertolino put out — five days before the 22-year-old’s strangled body was recovered in Wyoming — that said, “It is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is reunited with her family.”
Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt claim, however, that statement was false, accusing Christopher and Roberta Laundrie of knowing at the time that Brian had killed Gabby.
Judge Hunter W. Carroll sided with the Petitos in denying the Laundries’ motion to dismiss the suit.
“As alleged by the Plaintiffs, the Laundries made their statement knowing that Gabby was dead, knowing the location of her body, and knowing that her parents were frantically looking for her,” Carroll wrote in a ruling obtained by The Post. “If this is true, then the Laundries’ statement was particularly callous and cruel, and it is sufficiently outrageous to state claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
Brian Laundrie reportedly admitted to killing Gabby Petito in a journal entry.
Gabby, 22, vanished on a cross-country trip with Brian, her boyfriend, sparking a nationwide search. After being named as the sole suspect in her disappearance, he, too, went missing, only to commit suicide. His skeletal remains were found in the Carlton Reserve in Florida on Oct. 20.
Laundrie admitted to killing Gabby in a notebook left in a Florida swamp where he killed himself. He insisted it was an act of “mercy,” Fox News reported last week.
“I ended her life,” Laundrie reportedly wrote in the note recovered by the FBI in October. “I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted, but I see now all the mistakes I made. I panicked. I was in shock.”
Laundrie claimed he killed Petito, whom he was reportedly engaged to marry, after she fell in the Wyoming wilderness.
Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt claim the Petitos knew their son killed their daughter Gabby.AP Photo/John Minchillo
The Laundries have denied having any advance knowledge of Petito’s demise.
Petito’s father, Joseph, acknowledged the legal victory in a tweet Thursday while claiming the “truth” would be revealed.
Christopher and Roberta Laundrie have until July 15 to respond to the allegations by Petito’s parents of intentional infliction of emotional distress, Carroll ruled.