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Gabby Petito's parents reach deal with parents of Brian Laundrie in civil lawsuit

Gabby Petito: The Untold Story
Gabby Petito: The Untold Story 42:00

The parents of Gabby Petito have reached an agreement with Brian Laundrie's parents to resolve a civil lawsuit and avoid a trial, the families' attorneys confirmed Wednesday.

Petito's parents and their attorney said in a statement that "all parties reluctantly agreed" to the confidential terms "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."

Steven Bertolino, the attorney representing Laundrie's parents, said in a statement, "Christopher and Roberta Laundrie and I participated in mediation with the Petito family and the civil lawsuit has now been resolved. The terms of the resolution are confidential, and we look forward to putting this matter behind us."

The Petitos and Laundries had previously settled a separate wrongful death lawsuit for $3 million.

The lawsuit that was resolved Wednesday, filed in March 2022, claimed that Brian Laundrie had admitted to his parents that he had killed Gabby Petito, his then-fiancée, before he had returned home by himself from a trip the two had been on.

The recently settled lawsuit said that by not coming forward during the searches for Petito and Laundrie, Laundrie's parents "acted with malice or great indifference to the rights" of Petito's parents, according to The Associated Press. The lawsuit also called the Laundries' behavior "shocking, atrocious, and utterly intolerable in a civilized community," the AP reported.

Petito was reported missing in Septemeber 2021, more than a week after Laundrie arrived back in Florida without her from what was supposed to be a four-month cross-country trip. Authorities soon named Laundrie as a person of interest, saying he was not cooperating with the investigation. 

Laundrie's parents said then that the last time they saw him was two days after Petito was reported missing when he left their home to go hiking in the nearby Carlton Reserve in Sarasota County, Florida.

Petito's remains were found on Sept. 19, 2021, near Wyoming's Grand Teton National Park. A coroner ruled in mid-October that she had been strangled to death. 

Laundrie's remains were found eight days later on Oct. 20, 2021, in Carlton Reserve. Bertolino said in November that Laundrie had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. One of the items found with Laundrie's remains was a notebook, in which, according to the FBI, Laundrie claimed responsibility for Petito's killing.

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