Gabby Petito, Brian Laundrie’s Families Settle Wrongful Death Lawsuit

by Shelby Scott
(Photo by Thomas O'Neill/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Well over a year has passed since authorities located 22-year-old travel vlogger Gabby Petito‘s remains in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest. And while Petito’s family has made some progress in mourning their loss, launching the Gabby Petito Foundation in her name, they’re still dealing with a number of legalities surrounding her death. Recently, though, the young woman’s family was able to close one of those chapters. News broke Thursday that the Petitos settled their wrongful death lawsuit against the parents of Petito’s late boyfriend Brian Laundrie.

Fox News reports that the family’s settlement took place on Thursday morning. Chris and Roberta Laundrie, parents of Brian Laundrie, must pay a sum of $3 million to Petito’s family. The Laundries’ son Brian was suspected of murdering Petito last summer before committing suicide in one of Florida’s environmental parks.

Patrick Reilly, an attorney who has continued to represent the Petito family since the death investigation began, spoke about the arbitrary qualities of the lawsuit’s sums. He said that $3 million represents an “arbitrary number” for Gabby’s parents. As such, any funds received from the suit will go right toward funding the Gabby Petito Foundation.

Reilly’s statement further read, “The Gabby Petito Foundation will continue to address the needs of organizations that support local missing persons and to provide aid to organizations that assist victims of domestic violence situations, through education, awareness, and prevention strategies.”

Reilly also reflected on the lawsuit itself, firing a subtle shot at the Laundries. The attorney for Gabby Petito’s parents added, “The Petito family lost their daughter, and they were also denied the opportunity to confront her killer. No amount of money is sufficient to compensate the Petito family for the loss of their daughter, Gabby, at the hands of Brian Laundrie.”

Gabby Petito’s Family Also Files Suit Against Utah Police

Gabby Petito’s family, and many of their online supporters, feel that Gabby Petito’s death could have potentially been avoided. If Utah police officers had handled a certain traffic stop differently. As such, the Petitos have also filed a lawsuit against Utah police.

The complaint within the lawsuit numbers 35 pages in total. It argues two of Moab’s police officers completely “bungled” a traffic stop that could have potentially saved Gabby Petito’s life.

The lawsuit addresses a traffic stop that took place on August 12th, 2021 in Moab, UT. The late couple had been traveling to Arches National Park as part of their cross-country journey at the time. While heading to the national park, a pair of police officers stopped them after they received a possible domestic disturbance call.

Footage from the traffic stop shows 22-year-old Gabby Petito sobbing in the back of a police vehicle. Another officer is seen speaking with Brian Laundrie. After talking with both individuals, one officer determined Petito had been the “primary aggressor.” The second officer labeled Laundrie the “victim of domestic assault.”

Documents from the latest lawsuit reveal that one of the involved officers, Eric Pratt, has skirted certain duties before in order to avoid “too much paperwork.” He previously also made threats against another woman with whom he had been involved, claiming he would kill her with a crowbar if word of their confrontation got out.

Despite these accusations and reports, Pratt remains a detective at Moab Police Department.