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Parents of Gabby Petito and Brian Laundrie reach settlement in emotional distress lawsuit


(NEW YORK) — The parents of Gabby Petitio, the 22-year-old travel blogger who was killed by her fiancé Brian Laundrie, settled Wednesday with Laundrie’s parents and their attorney in an emotional distress lawsuit and will avoid a civil trial, according to a statement.

Nichole Schmidt and Joseph Petito, Gabby Petito’s parents, filed a lawsuit against Brian Laundrie’s parents, Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, and their attorney, Steven Bertolino, for intentional infliction of emotional distress in March 2022. They claimed the Laundries were aware of Gabby Petito’s murder soon after her death in August 2021 and chose to do nothing other than issue a statement through Bertolino expressing hope she would be found.

On Wednesday, the two sides came to an agreement to avoid a civil trial that would have begun in May.

“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. 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,” a statement from Joseph and Tara Petito and Nichole and James Schmidt read.

Bertolino said in a statement that he and the Landries participated in mediation and that the terms of the resolution were confidential.

“We look forward to putting this matter behind us,” Bertolino’s statement read in part.

Petito’s family reported her missing on Sept. 11, 2021, while she was on a cross-country road trip with Laundrie. Her body was found about a week later in Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest, with a coroner ruling that she had died of “blunt-force injuries to the head and neck, with manual strangulation.”

Brian Laundrie, who was later found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Florida’s Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park, wrote in a notebook that he killed Petito, according to the FBI.

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