HomeNewsGabby Petito’s Family Adds Laundrie Family Attorney as Defendant in Lawsuit

Gabby Petito’s Family Adds Laundrie Family Attorney as Defendant in Lawsuit

by Taylor Cunningham
(Photo by Thomas O'Neill/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

Gabby Petito’s parents have added the Laundrie family attorney as a defendant in their civil lawsuit against Brian Laundrie’s parents.

According to court documents, Nicole Schmidt and Joseph Petito filed a motion to include Steven Bertolino in the case on Tuesday (Dec. 6) in the 12th Judicial Circuit Court in Sarasota County, Florida.

The parents originally sued Christopher and Roberta Laundrie in March, claiming that they knew their son had murdered Gabby. Schmidt and Petito further alleged that the two were working to help Brian flee the country before he committed suicide.

The recent motion accuses Bertolino of knowing details of the crime, including where Brian had buried Gabby, when he issued his Sept. 14, 2021, statement on behalf of the Laundries that said otherwise.

“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,” he shared.

The motion also claims it was “beyond outrageous” for the family and Bertolino to “express their ‘hope’” that police would find Gabby when they already knew she was murdered.

Brian Laundrie Found Dead in Florida Alongside a Letter Confessing to Gabby Petito’s Murder

One week after Bertolino’s statement, authorities found Gabby Petito’s remains buried in a shallow grave in the Bridger-Teton National Forest. The discovery closed a month-long search for the travel influencer who had gone missing during a cross-country trip with Brian Laundrie, her fiance.

When the coroner confirmed the remains belonged to Gabby, Brian had already been missing for days. The FBI had already launched a manhunt for him because investigators believed he had information about her disappearance. With proof of murder, he became their main suspect.

On October 21, 2021, police found Laundrie dead in a Florida nature reserve. Alongside his remains was a notebook that included his confession.

“I ended her life,” he wrote. “I thought it was merciful, that it is what she wanted. But I see now all the mistakes I made. I panicked. I was in shock. But from the moment I decided, took away her pain, I knew I couldn’t go on without her.”

The letter explained that Gabby fell into a stream while she was rushing back to her car before dark. Brian wrote that a resulting “small bump on her forehead” eventually grew “larger,” and she begged for him to “end her pain.”

Official autopsies ruled that Gabby had died by strangulation and Brian died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.