Gabby Petito: Parents reach deal with parents of alleged killer Brian Laundrie

Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie
Gabby Petito (left) was found dead in Wyoming (Image: Instagram)

The parents of US travel blogger Gabby Petito have reached a deal with the parents of her alleged killer, whom they sued for emotional distress.

Ms Petito was strangled in 2021. Authorities blamed her boyfriend Brian Laundrie, who later shot himself.

Laundrie’s parents were not charged but found themselves accused in a civil case of failing to disclose that their son admitted to killing her.

That case has now been resolved and a trial avoided.

Both sides said details of the resolution were confidential.

Joseph and Tara Petito said all parties had “reluctantly agreed” to the deal after a “long day of mediation” in order to “avoid further legal expenses and prolonged personal conflict”.

A lawyer for the Laundrie family said the other side similarly looked forward to putting the matter behind them.

Ms Petito, a popular “van life” blogger, had been documenting a cross-country road trip with her fiancé in summer 2021 when she was killed. The story attracted headlines around the world.

She had been posting images of her picturesque journey online. But at some point, things went wrong – and Laundrie returned alone to his family home in Florida in September that year.

Ms Petito was then reported missing and her body was discovered in a campground near Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park later that month.

Laundrie later went missing himself and his own body was found a month later in a nature reserve near his parents’ home.

His parents were not accused of any crime in connection with Petito’s death. But the Petito family filed their civil case in 2022, alleging that the Laundries had inflicted emotional distress with their actions.

They alleged that the other family knew Ms Petito to be dead even while saying publicly that they hoped she would be found – something the Laundries denied.

During the case, the Petitos highlighted a letter written by Laundrie’s mother Roberta, found by investigators.

In the note, she told her son: “If you’re in jail I will bake a cake and put a file in it. If you need to dispose of a body, I will show up with a shovel and garbage bags.”

The words “burn after reading” were written on the envelope.

The Laundries said the note contained little more than references to Laundrie’s favourite childhood books, and was written before the couple set off on their ill-fated trip.

But they were unsuccessful in their attempts to have the letter excluded from the case, with the Petitos arguing there was a “reasonable inference it [was] written after Gabby Petito was murdered”.

The two families previously reached a $3m (£2.4m) settlement in a wrongful death lawsuit filed by Ms Petito’s parents, which claimed Laundrie was liable for damages because he caused her death.

Source: bbc.co.uk

 

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