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Gabby Petito's parents square off in court against Brian Laundrie's parents, claim they knew what happened to her

Gabby Petito's parents sue Brian Laundrie's parents, claim they knew what happened to her
Gabby Petito's parents sue Brian Laundrie's parents, claim they knew what happened to her 02:13

NEW YORK -- There Is a new chapter in the murder case of Gabby Petito, who was killed by her fiancé, Brian Laundrie, during a cross country trip last year before he took his own life.

Now, the couple's parents are fighting each other, and, as CBS2's Cindy Hsu reported, Wednesday was their first day in court.

READ MOREGabby Petito homicide: Timeline of road trip with fiancé Brian Laundrie, notable dates and events

Petito's parents appeared in court in Florida. They are suing Laundrie's parents, who did not come to court, for allegedly keeping quiet during the search for their daughter, when they say the Laundries knew their son had murdered their daughter.

The search for Petito captured the nation's attention last September. Her parents reported her missing that month, when they didn't hear from her while she was on a trip across the country with Laundrie.

READ MOREBrian Laundrie's parents knew "whereabouts" of Gabby Petito's body, lawsuit says

Meanwhile, lawyers for Petito's parents say in late August Laundrie told his parents that he had murdered Petito.

"They knew starting on Aug. 28 of 2021 that Gabby was dead. They knew where Gabby's body was. They knew that the Petito family was desperately searching for information," a lawyer said.

The Laundries did not share that information with investigators and weeks later had their lawyer read a statement.

"On behalf of the Laundrie family, I hope that Miss Petito is located and that she is reunited with her family," lawyer Steven Bertolino said.

Laundrie returned home alone from the trip on Sept. 1 and the family would not talk to investigators.

READ MOREGabby Petito's family claim in lawsuit Brian Laundrie's parents knew about her murder and helped their son get away

Petito's lawyers say the family tried to cover for Laundrie by blocking the Petito's cellphone number and access to their Facebook page. They're also accused of trying to get their son out of the country.

Petito's body was finally found on Sept. 19. The Petitos are suing, claiming the Laundries did not share the information they knew about their daughter's death, causing intentional infliction of emotional distress. However, the Laundrie's lawyer says keeping quiet is not against the law.

"The law imposes no such obligation to speak and the state and federal constitution support that. In our society, under our laws, people are free not to speak," Matt Luca said.

The judge will decide whether the Petito family has enough evidence to pursue legal action and send the case to a jury.

A decision on whether to grant a dismissal or proceed to trial is expected sometime this summer.

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