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The lawyer for Brian Laundrie’s parents has denied that he had direct contact with Laundrie before Gabby Petito’s killer left Wyoming.
Steve Bertolino made the comments to WFLA after Petito’s family filed a civil lawsuit against Christopher and Roberta Laundrie. The family’s attorney, Rick Stafford, claimed that the Laundries and Bertolino “had multiple conversations” with their son after Petito’s death on August 27, 2021, and his departure from Wyoming on August 30.
#UPDATE: In response to Friday’s statement by the attorney for #GabbyPetito’s parents (in screenshot below), Laundrie attorney Steve Bertolino tells me he did not have direct contact with #BrianLaundrie before Brian left Wyoming. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/U9KcUjBZrD
— JB Biunno #HeyJB (@WFLAJB) March 12, 2022
Bertolino also told WFLA that the Laundries had not received a summons for the lawsuit. Once they do, they will have 20 days to respond.
As CrimeOnline previously reported, the lawsuit claims that Brian Laundrie told his parents he had killed Petito and that they immediately put Bertolini on retainer. Brian Laundrie returned to his parents home in North Port, Florida, on September 1, with the van he and Petito had been traveling in, but without his girlfriend.
According to the lawsuit, Brian Laundrie told his parents he killed his girlfriend on August 28, and they immediately contacted Bertolino, sending him a retainer on September 2.
The lawsuit claims that Laundrie’s parents not only knew about the murder but also planned to help their son get out of the country. The lawsuit provided no evidentiary support for those claims.
“As I have maintained over the last several months, the Laundries have not publicly commented at my direction, which is their right under the law,” Bertolino said in a text message to WFLA. “Assuming everything the Petitos allege in their lawsuit is true, which we deny, this lawsuit does not change the fact that the Laundries had no obligation to speak to law enforcement or any third-party, including the Petito family. This fundamental legal principle renders the Petitos’ claims to be baseless under the law.”
Roberta Laundrie did actually give a comment to WFLA, saying “the claim speaks for itself.”
After Brian Laundrie’s return to Florida, the Laundries refused contact with Petito’s parents, even as they tried desperately to find their daughter after losing contact with her in late August. Joe Petito and Nichole Schmidt, Petito’s parents, struggled to even find a jurisdiction to file a missing person’s report, finally doing so on September 11, a day after they learned Laundrie had returned to Florida.
Brian Laundrie left his parents home on September 13, purportedly to hike in the nearby Carlton Reserve, but Christopher and Roberta Laundrie didn’t tell authorities until four days later, after they’d retrieved his car.
Meanwhile, searchers in Wyoming found Gabby Petito’s murdered body at a remote campsite in Bridger-Teton National Forest on September 19. The Teton County coroner found that she died from strangulation and her death was a homicide.
Laundrie’s body was found in November in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park adjacent to the Carlton Reserve. He had a gunshot wound to the head, and the medical examiner ruled his death a suicide.
While Laundrie was the prime suspect in Petito’s death, he was never charged with her murder, although the FBI said he admitted he killed her in an entry in a journal found with his body. A warrant for his arrest on fraud charges — he allegedly used her bank card on his way from Wyoming to Florida — was issued.
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