Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie were high school sweethearts. They got engaged in 2020 and decided to go on a four-month road trip before the wedding. They packed their van and hit the road in July 2021. Petito’s people were confident that her daughter would be safe with her fiancé for the ride. Her parents described Laundrie as a “polite” and “nice guy” who everyone liked. “I had a feeling she would be fine. I thought he would take care of her,” mother Nicole Schmidt told 60 Minutes.
Everything looked peachy as they posted smirking selfies from all over the place. However, there had been severe bumps in the road during their journey. According to the New York Post, police officers reported that Laundrie was covered in scratches after he and Petito had “some sort of altercation” in Utah on Aug. 12. Two weeks later they were spotted in Wyoming engaged in a furious fight.
On August 30, Schmidt received a strange text, allegedly from her daughter, but she believed it was written by someone else. Two days later, Laundrie returned to his parents all alone. A manhunt for Petito began on September 11, and Laundrie disappeared six days later. Petito’s body was found on September 19 near Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming; she had been strangled. On October 20, the remains of Laundrie were discovered in a swamp in Florida. He had taken his own life. When tragedy struck, a bitter legal battle broke out between the grieving parents. The latest court update features a judge completely beating up Laundrie’s family.
The judge called Brian Laundrie’s family ‘callous and cruel’
When Brian Laundrie returned home alone, his family went into lockdown. They refused to speak to the police or Gabby Petito’s family. However, attorney Patrick Reilly released a statement on behalf of the laundries in September 2021. “We hope the search is successful and Miss Petito is reunited with her family,” it said in part, per BayNews 9. In January 2022, the FBI revealed that Laundrie had admitted to murdering Petito in a diary kept next to his body has been discovered.
Laundrie’s notebook confession, released in June, insisted he had acted out of kindness after Petito injured himself. “I ended her life. I thought it was gracious that she wanted it, but now I see all the mistakes I made. I panicked. I was in shock,” he claimed (via NBC). Petito’s family sued the laundries, claiming they knew of the murder and withheld information during the search for their daughter. They demanded $30,000 for inflicted emotional pain and suffering.
Reilly filed a motion to dismiss the Petito family’s lawsuit, claiming their case was without merit. Per People, the attorney argued that his clients were not required to speak under the First and Fifth Amendments. Judge Hunter Carroll agreed but ruled that their September 2021 statement gave up those rights. “Had the laundries really remained silent, the court would have granted the motion to dismiss in favor of the laundries. But they weren’t silent,” he said, calling the family’s actions “particularly callous and cruel.”