Oxygen Insider Exclusive!

Create a free profile to get unlimited access to exclusive videos, breaking news, sweepstakes, and more!

Sign Up for Free to View
Crime News Breaking News

Parents of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie "Reluctantly" Reach Settlement in Emotional Distress Lawsuit

Lawyers say all parties "reluctantly agreed" to the terms of the civil lawsuit to avoid further suffering. 

By Jax Miller

The parents of murdered 22-year-old Gabby Petito have reached a settlement in a civil lawsuit accusing her confessed killer’s parents of emotional distress.

The resolution marks an end to the year-long civil case filed in March 2022, in which Petito’s parents and stepparents accused Christopher and Roberta Laundrie of “intentional infliction of emotional distress." Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, along with their respective spouses Tara Petito and James Schmidt, released a joint statement on Wednesday, February 22, 2024, through their attorney, Patrick J. Reilly.

“After a long day of mediation, a confidential resolution has been reached between the parents of Gabby Petito, the parents of Brian Laundrie, and Attorney Steven Bertolino, to which all parties reluctantly agreed in order to avoid further legal expenses and prolonged personal conflict,” the statement obtained by Oxygen.com read.

More Gabby Petito News:
Brian Laundrie's Parents Reveal What Happened the Day He Told Them "Gabby's Gone"
Brian Laundrie Allegedly Posed as Gabby Petito in Texts to Her Parents After He Killed Her
Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie’s Parents Meet for First Time Since She Was Killed

“Our hope is to close this chapter of our lives to allow us to move on and continue to honor the legacy of our beautiful daughter, Gabby,” the statement concluded.

Brian Laundrie Gabby Petito Ig

Petito’s August 2021 disappearance gained widespread media coverage after the blogger’s 23-year-old fiancé, Brian Laundrie, returned to his parents’ Florida home without Petito after weeks of traveling cross-country in a van. Petito’s body was found on September 19, 2021, at Wyoming’s Grand Teton National Park.

Experts ruled her death as a homicide, stating Petito died by strangulation weeks earlier.

Laundrie vanished soon after returning to Florida in early September; his body was later discovered at the T. Mabry Carlton Jr. Memorial Reserve near his parents’ Sarasota County home. He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, but not before claiming responsibility for Petito’s death in a notebook found near his body, according to the F.B.I.

Petito’s parents, according to their March 2022 filing, accused Laundrie’s parents of knowing for weeks that Laundrie had murdered Petito on August 27, 2021 — the last day Mrs. Schmidt spoke with her daughter — and kept the information to themselves, per the lawsuit reviewed by Oxygen.com.

Gabby Petito Ig 6

“Christopher Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie exhibited extreme and outrageous conduct which constitutes behavior, under the circumstances, which goes beyond all possible bounds of decency and is regarded as shocking, atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community,” the lawsuit stated.

At the time of the initial filing, the Petitos sought $30,000 in damages.

Petito’s parents alleged the Laundries went on vacation in the first week of September 2021, suggesting they displayed “callous indifference” of their suffering. They added that the Laundries “repeatedly refused” to respond to the their grief-stricken pleas.

The Laundries, for their part, denied withholding information about Petito’s disappearance.

Attorney Steven Bertolino, representing the Laundries and also named in the lawsuit, previously called the motion “baseless and frivolous,” urging a Florida judge to drop the case.

In light of the recent settlement, Bertolino said, “We look forward to putting this matter behind us,” according to ABC News.

While families on both sides acknowledged reaching the settlement, official documents have yet to be filed with the courts, according to Fox News. Had they not agreed to the terms, the parties would have headed to trial on May 13, 2024.