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Petito Parents Settle Emotional Distress Case Against Laundries

The parents of slain New York woman Gabby Petito reached a settlement in their suit against the parents of Brian Laundrie, the man who admitted responsibility for her death, as well as his parents’ attorney. Details of the emotional distress case were not disclosed. It came “after a long day of mediation,” the parents of Petito said in a statement released by their attorney, NBC News reports. “All parties reluctantly agreed in order to avoid further legal expenses and prolonged personal conflict,” said Petito’s parents, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt.


Gabby Petito, 22, of Blue Point, N.Y., was killed as she and Laundrie were on a cross-country road trip in their van in 2021. Gabby Petito had documented their trip online. Laundrie was a "person of interest" in her killing, and after he later died by suicide, a note was found in which he claimed responsibility. Petito vanished in August, and suspicion fell on Laundrie, 23, after he returned for Florida in the van without her. Petito’s body was found in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming on Sept. 19. Laundrie disappeared and was found dead in a swampy part of Florida on Oct. 20. Petito's parents sued Laundrie's parents and their lawyer, Steven Bertolino, for intentional and reckless infliction of emotional distress. The Petitos alleged that Laundrie’s parents and Bertolino knew Petito was dead but lied to them and the public by issuing messages of hope that she’d be found. A wrongful death lawsuit was previously settled; a judge awarded the Petito family $3 million in 2022.

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