Wednesday 22 June 2022 10:59 PM Gabby Petito case: Brian Laundrie's parents fail to show up to court trends now

Wednesday 22 June 2022 10:59 PM Gabby Petito case: Brian Laundrie's parents fail to show up to court trends now
Wednesday 22 June 2022 10:59 PM Gabby Petito case: Brian Laundrie's parents fail to show up to court trends now

Wednesday 22 June 2022 10:59 PM Gabby Petito case: Brian Laundrie's parents fail to show up to court trends now

The distraught mother of murdered Gabby Petito dabbed tears from her eyes in a courtroom today as she listened to her lawyer blast the actions of killer Brian Laundrie's parents as 'callous and shameful'.

Nicole Schmidt, 41, also toyed nervously with a necklace as she sat with former husband Joseph Petito, 42, the father of the adventurous 21-year-old who was strangled on a van-life road trip with Laundrie in Wyoming last summer.

The devastated mother and father are suing Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, alleging they knew their son had murdered Gabby after he returned to their Florida home alone - and tried to help him flee authorities.

Nicole Schmidt (left) and Joseph Petito (right) appeared in court on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the lawsuit they filed against Roberta and Christopher Laundrie

Nicole Schmidt (left) and Joseph Petito (right) appeared in court on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the lawsuit they filed against Roberta and Christopher Laundrie

Christopher and Roberta Laundrie allegedly knew their son killed Petito and took him on vacation. The pair remained silent during the search for Petito

Christopher and Roberta Laundrie allegedly knew their son killed Petito and took him on vacation. The pair remained silent during the search for Petito

The Schmidts are suing Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, alleging they knew their son Biran (right) had murdered Gabby (left) after he returned to their Florida home alone - and tried to help him flee authorities

The Schmidts are suing Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, alleging they knew their son Biran (right) had murdered Gabby (left) after he returned to their Florida home alone - and tried to help him flee authorities

They claim the Laundries are guilty of 'inflicting intentional emotional distress' and that a statement issued by their lawyer hopeful of a successful end to the search for then-missing Gabby was 'outrageous' because they allegedly already knew she was dead.

Their attorney Patrick Reilly told Sarasota County Court, Florida: 'This is case not simply about the silence of Robert and Christopher Laundrie who knew their son had brutally murdered Gabby Petito.'

He said it also wasn't about their 'callous refusal despite pleas from the Petito family' to speak out about whether not Gabby was alive – or if she wasn't the location of her body.

'It's about a course of conduct that they committed from when they learned on August 28, 2021 that their son had brutally murdered Gabby Petito,' he said.

Reilly said this included the statement that was made by the attorney advising them at the time, Steve Bertolino, regarding their wish for a successful end to the search.

Judge Hunter W. Carroll asked what duty did Christopher, 63, and Roberta, 56, have to do 'anything to help' Gabby's parents.

'It's about what they did with the information that they had,' Reilly replied. 'Not just not disclosing what they knew.'

He added the Laundries could have made an anonymous phone call to reveal the location of Gabby's body. The lawyer said they knew Gabby's parents were 'desperately searching' for information.

The hearing was to consider the Laundries' motion to dismiss the case. After hearing pleas from both sides, Judge Carroll said he hoped to issue a written decision in two weeks. If he dismisses the motion, the Laundries could face a jury trial next year.

It is the first time Gabby's parents have had an opportunity to be in a court over the tragic death of their daughter. Laundrie shot himself after fleeing to a Florida swamp, denying them legal justice.

However, the hearing continued the couple's pain as they had to listen to arguments. Both sets of parents had been friendly before Gabby went missing, the court was told.

The Laundries are accused of taking son Brian to Fort De Soto Park just days before Petito was reported missing

The Laundries are accused of taking son Brian to Fort De Soto Park just days before Petito was reported missing

Gabby's remains were eventually discovered on September 19, 2021, in lonely spot in the Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming.

She and boyfriend Brian, 23, had lived with his parents in North Port, near Florida's west coast. The young couple set off on an adventure from New York State – where her mother lives - in early July, heading West.

However, on September 1, Brian arrived back at the Laundrie home on his own in Gabby's white Ford van. Ten days later anxious Schmidt reported her daughter missing after last having contact in a phone call on August 25.

Hours after Gabby's mom raised the alarm, North Port Police hauled the white van off the Laundrie's driveway and took it off for forensic examination.

Officers asked to speak to Brian at the house, but were told by his parents he wasn't available. It is not known if the killer was inside at the time.

Laundrie then went missing in the 25,000-acre alligator infested Carlton Reserve near his home, sparking a massive hunt involving local police, the FBI and at least two sheriff's departments.

His parents initially told police he vanished on September 14 to go hiking in the reserve, but later changed this to a day earlier. His body was eventually found in the swamp on October 20 after his parents broke cover and joined law enforcement there.

A notebook found with him included a confession that he had murdered Gabby.

When Gabby was missing, attorney Bertolino issued a statement saying: '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.'

Attorney Reilly attacked that statement as a 'lie', alleging it was said to give 'false hope' to Gabby's parents that she may be still alive. He added they knew the 'fragile and emotional state' of the parents at the time – and that it was 'callous and shameful'.

He added: 'I guess it is OK to kick someone when they are down, according to the Laundries.'

Reilly alleged the only reason attorney Bertolino wasn't an additional defendant in the case was because he is not a citizen of the State of Florida.

Matt Luka, attorney in court for the Laundries, spent a long time arguing the law in relation to remaining silent. He said remaining silent did not constitute inflicting emotional distress.

He added that the plaintiffs argued the Laundries had a duty to speak but 'the law imposes no such obligation to speak'.

Luka continued: 'Even if Brian Laundrie conveyed information to his parents they did not have a requirement to speak out.'

In the Laundries' motion to dismiss paperwork, attorney Luka writes their 'inaction was not outrageous but legal permissible and constitutionally protected'.

Laundrie's remains were found north of the entrance to Myakkahatchee Creek, in the Big Slough Preserve, off an unpaved trail near a bridge where Brian's parents said he liked to visit. It is four miles north of their home in North Port, Florida

Laundrie's remains were found north of the entrance to Myakkahatchee Creek, in the Big Slough Preserve, off an unpaved trail near a bridge where Brian's parents said he liked to visit. It is four miles north of their home in North Port, Florida 

'The amended complaint alleges that the Laundries failed to have any contact with the Plaintiffs when the Plaintiffs wanted the Laundries to speak or otherwise communicate' with them, the motion continues.

The lawyer adds: 'That allegation falls so far below the 'particularly high' standard for outrageous conduct that the Amended Complaint should never have been filed.'

He said the Laundries – who have never faced any criminal charges over the tragedy – are entitled to exercise their legal rights. 'There is no requirement that an individual face a formal criminal investigation in order to remain silent,' the lawyer added.

Luka said the statement issued on behalf of the Laundries was 'benign' and did not alter their right to remain silent. 'Remaining silent and

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