Families of Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie reach settlement, avoid civil trial

VENICE, Fla. — The family of Gabby Petito reached a settlement with the family of Brian Laundrie and their former attorney on Wednesday, avoiding a civil trial.

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The families held discussions during a mediation conference at an undisclosed location in Venice, Florida, located 73 miles south of Tampa, WFLA-TV reported.

The lawsuit, filed by Petito’s parents, claimed that the Laundries knew that their son had killed Petito, a 22-year-old blogger and fiancee of the accused assailant, during a cross-country road trip in 2021 but withheld information intentionally.

Authorities found Petito’s remains in a remote part of Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest in September 2021. Officials said Brian Laundrie confessed to having killed Petito in a notebook found after he took his life weeks later in a west-central Florida nature reserve.

“After a long day of mediation, a confidential resolution has been reached between the parents of Gabby Petito, the parents of Brian Laundrie and attorney Steven Bertolino to which all parties reluctantly agreed in order to avoid further legal expenses and prolonged personal conflict,” Petito’s family said in a statement released by their attorney, according to WFLA. “Our hope is to close this chapter of our lives to allow us to move on and continue to honor the legacy of our beautiful daughter, Gabby.”

Bertolino, the Laundries’ former attorney, also issued a statement, WWSB-TV reported.

“Christopher and Roberta Laundrie and I participated in mediation with the Petito family and the civil lawsuit has now been resolved,” Bertolino said. “The terms of the resolution are confidential, and we look forward to putting this matter behind us.”

Petito’s parents, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmit, sued Christopher and Roberta Laundrie and later added Bertolino to the case, WNYW-TV reported. They accused the trio of inflicting emotional distress by misleading them about their daughter’s whereabouts before her remains were found.

In a series of depositions unsealed earlier this month, the Laundries admitted they had concerns for Petito’s well-being when their son showed up at their Florida home in the woman’s van without her, according to the television station. However, the Laundries denied having any knowledge about the woman’s death until her remains were discovered in a search led by the FBI.

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