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Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie’s Parents Meet for First Time Since She Was Killed
“It was extremely hurtful to listen to someone that has no remorse and no compassion for the girl they would call their daughter-in-law,” Gabby Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, said of Brian Laundrie's father's court deposition.
Laundrie’s father, Christopher Laundrie, was deposed to appear in court on Tuesday as part of Petito’s family's pending civil lawsuit against him, Laundrie’s mother Roberta, and the family lawyer, Steven Bertolino. His deposition lasted for roughly three hours.
The courtroom meeting was the first time the two families had met since Petito’s murder rocked the country in 2021, the New York Post reported.
According to Petito’s family, Christopher showed “no remorse” while testifying this week, WFLA reported. Following the hearing, Petito’s mother, Nichole Schmidt, described the first encounter with her daughter’s killer’s family as “gut wrenching.”
“It was extremely hurtful to listen to someone that has no remorse and no compassion for the girl they would call their daughter-in-law,” Schmidt told the outlet.
Schmidt watched Tuesday’s proceedings on Zoom. Joe Petito, the murdered woman's father, was present in court to listen to Christopher’s deposition, according to WFLA.
Petito’s body was found in Wyoming's Bridger–Teton National Forest in September 2021 after driving across the country with Laundrie. The blogger was later discovered to have been choked to death, officials said. Laundrie, her fiancé at the time, later killed himself. His partial skeleton was found in a remote location in Florida, according to the FBI. Laundrie ultimately confessed to Petito’s murder in a notebook that was found near his remains.
The Laundrie family unsuccessfully tried having the civil suit dismissed. Petito's parents have accused the Laundrie family of neglecting to assist them in the aftermath of their daughter's disappearance, alleging his parents ignored phone calls, social media messages and texts. The Petito family has also accused the Laundrie family and their lawyer of withholding information. According to the civil suit, the Laundrie family's actions caused Petito's family intense emotional distress.
“I have nothing to share other than there were no surprises on our side,” Bertolino told WFLA at the conclusion of this week’s deposition.
Roberta, Brian’s mother, was deposed on Wednesday, NBC Miami reported. The depositions are not open to the public. Roberta's testimony comes months after her “burn after reading” note to her son was released, in which she pledged to assist Laundrie if he ever needed to bury a corpse.
“It was difficult to be in the room with Joe and Nichole on Zoom asking these questions knowing how difficult it would be for them to relive it all,” said Pat Reily, a lawyer representing Petito's parents.
The civil depositions in the case are expected to continue ahead of the trial’s opening in May 2024.
The Petito family has also brought a $50-million civil case against the Moab Police Department for alleged negligence during an interaction shortly before her death, which “deprived Gabby of her safety and ultimately her life.”