In the lawsuit, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt allege Brian Laundrie told his parents about killing Gabby Petito around August 28.
“While Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt were desperately searching for information concerning their daughter, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie were keeping the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie secret, and it is believed were making arrangements for him to leave the country,” the suit alleges.
Petito and Laundrie, who were engaged, were on a monthslong van-life trip through the western United States when she was killed.
The lawsuit says Petito called members of her family almost daily. Schmidt’s last communication with her daughter was on August 27, the suit says. Her parents believe that was the day she was killed, citing a text message that was sent from Gabby Petito’s phone later that day where her grandfather was referred to as “Stan,” something their daughter Gabby would have never done. The lawsuit alleges Brian Laundrie sent that text.
The lawsuit also claims that on August 30, Brian, pretending to be Gabby, sent a text message to Schmidt that there was no service in Yosemite Park. The family believes this was done to make her believe Gabby Petito was still alive.
Laundrie arrived at his parents’ home in North Port, Florida, on September 1, police have said.
In the lawsuit, Joe Petito and Schmidt say that the Laundries refused to respond to them or law enforcement when they inquired whether Gabby Petito was alive and if not, where her remains were.
“Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie knew of the mental suffering and anguish of Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, and knew that they could alleviate, at least in part, such mental suffering and anguish by disclosing what they knew about the well-being and the location of the remains of Gabrielle Petito, yet they repeatedly refused to do so,” the suit says.
“In doing so, Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie acted with malice or great indifference to the rights of Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt,” it continues.
The lawsuit alleges that around September 10, Roberta Laundrie blocked Schmidt from calling or texting her cell phone and also blocked her on Facebook. Schmidt reported Petito missing to police in New York, where the couple left for their trip, on September 11. Petito’s body was found in Wyoming eight days later.
Brian Laundrie left his parents’ house the week of September 13 and was not seen again. His parents said he told them he was going on a hike, according to their attorney.
“The speculation by the public and some in the press that the parents assisted Brian in leaving the family home or in avoiding arrest on a warrant that was issued after Brian had already been missing for…