The parents of Gabby Petito have filed a lawsuit against the parents of Brian Laundrie.
Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt's daughter Gabby Petito was killed by Laundrie while on a trip in Wyoming.
- Body found matching description of Gabby Petito in Wyoming
- FBI: Laundrie claimed responsibility for death of Petito in notebook
According to the lawsuit, they are seeking damages in excess of $30k exclusive of prejudgment interest, costs and attorney fees.
The suit filed in Sarasota County accuses Laundrie's mother Roberta of blocking Schmidt on her cell phone as well as on Facebook during the investigation. It also alleges that the Laundrie family knew their son had murdered Petito when they issued this statement:
"It is our understanding that a search has been organized for Miss Petito in or near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming. On behalf of the Laundrie family, it is our hope that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is reunited with her family."
Two days later, the Petito family wrote a letter to the Laundries pleading for their help, saying "please, if you or your family have any decency left, please tell us where Gabby is located."
The suit says that after that plea the Laundries refused to respond to the Petitos or law enforcement. It goes on to allege that while Petito's parents were searching for information about their daughter, Laundrei's parents were keeping Brian's whereabouts secrets and making arrangements for him to leave the country.
Petito and Schmidt accused the Laundries of acting with malice or great indifference and extreme and outrageous conduct, which "goes beyond all possible bounds of decency and is regarded as shocking, atrocious and utterly intolerable in a civilized community."
The suit alleges that "as a direct and proximate result of the willfulness and maliciousness of Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt had been caused to suffer pain and suffering, mental anguish, inconvenience, loss of capacity for enjoyment of life experienced in the past and to be experienced in the future."
The attorney for the Laundrie family, Steven Bertolino, gave ABC Action News the following comment regarding the lawsuit:
"As I have maintained over the last several months, the Laundrie‘s have not publicly commented at my direction, which is their right under the law. Assuming everything the Petitos allege in their lawsuit is true, which we deny, this lawsuit does not change the fact that the Laundries had no obligation to speak to law enforcement or any third party including the Petito family. This fundamental legal principle renders the Petitos' claims to be baseless under the law."
The attorney for the Petito's has also released this statement in connection to the lawsuit.
To read the full lawsuit, click HERE.