Since discovering the details of their daughter’s death, Gabby Petito’s family has been on a mission to bring her killer’s family to court for their part in the crime. Now, the presiding judge has just confirmed that they will move forward with the case.
Last summer, Gabby Petito’s disappearance was the subject of news headlines on a near-daily basis. At the time, she and her fiance, Brian Laundrie, were traveling to various national parks via camper van together. However, Petito’s family soon lost contact with her as the pair reached Grand Teton National Park. Soon after, an intense, nationwide search ensued. Sadly, they found the 22-year-old’s remains in a shallow grave with signs of strangulation.
Days prior to the discovery of Gabby Petito’s body, Laundrie, himself, went missing, too. This was after he briefly returned to his parents’ home in Florida and allegedly took a camping trip with them. The Petitos claim that the Laundries did not aid in the investigation of their daughter’s disappearance or death. They also stated that the Laundries even provided false hope whilst knowing that Petito was dead.
At one point, Laundrie family lawyer Steven Bertolino provided the statement: “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.”
As a result, Judge Hunter W Carroll concluded that there was, indeed, cause for action. This statement directly contradicted the facts of the case that the Laundrie family knew at the time.
“Because the Laundries’ statement by their attorney in the context of the unique faces of this case is objectively outrageous, the Court concludes that Plaintiffs [Petitos] have stated causes of actions for intentional infliction of emotional distress against the Laundries,” Judge Carroll wrote, according to The U.S. Sun.
Presiding Judge Clarifies New Gabby Petito Case Development Has Nothing to Do with Laundries’ Silence
For much of the investigation, the Laundries offered no new information about their son or Gabby Petito. The 22-year-old’s family especially felt the weight of their silence as the FBI scoured the Carlton Reserve, surrounding remote islands and even parts of the Appalachian Trail. It wasn’t until the tail end of the investigation that Brian Laundrie’s parents joined the search efforts. On that same day, they located some of their son’s belongings, including a journal with a written confession of Laundrie’s role in his fiance’s death.
While the silence and secrecy was disturbing to Petito’s family as well as followers of the case, Judge Carroll clarified that his decision was a direct result of the Laundries’ actual comments.
“If the facts of this case truly were about silence with no affirmative act by the Laundries, the Court would have resolved this case in the Laundries’ favor on the concept of legal duty,” Carroll stated. “But they did not stay silent.”