In the autumn of last year, the tragic murder of Gabby Petito was on everyone’s minds.
Brian Laundrie killed her, hid her body, tried to return to his normal life, became a fugitive, and died by suicide.
He even confessed to Gabby’s murder in writing. That is not the end of the story, however.
Gabby’s parents are suing the Laundrie family, and the judge isn’t letting them throw the case out of court.
Gabby Petito’s surviving loved ones are suing Brian Laundrie’s parents, Christopher and Roberta.
The lawsuit alleges that the Laundries knew where Gabby’s remains were located during the search for her.
Authorities were conducting a widespread search for her, only finding her body on September 19.
Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt are seeking more than $30,000 in damages.
They are suing over the mental anguish that they incurred during this time.
It’s not just that their daughter was abused and murdered — they are accusing the Laundries of deceit.
The lawsuit also accuses Christopher and Roberta of actively helping Brian to conceal Gabby’s murder
They believe that the family was also conspiring to help Brian flee the country.
Within the filing, Gabby’s parents accuse the Laundries of going on vacation with Brian after Gabby’s murder.
This is when Joseph and Nichole were actively looking for their missing daughter and needed help.
In fact, they pleaded for help — but Nichole wrote that Roberta blocked her phone and Facebook profile at that time.
The Laundrie family is fighting back, and filed to dismiss the lawsuit.
Their argument is heartless, but simple:
They believe that they were not obligated to disclose anything that they may have known.
However, a Florida circuit court judge has denied the motion to dismiss.
The civil lawsuit will proceed to trial.
Though the judge agreed that the Laundries were not required to speak about the case, there is more to it.
The judge noted that the lawsuit accuses the Laundries of “particularly callous and cruel” actions.
“If the facts of this case were truly about silence with no affirmative action by the Laundries,” the court ruled.
The judge continued: “The court would have resolved this case in the Laundries favor.”
This would have been “”on the concept of the lack of legal duty for the Laundries to act.”
But this is not a “Good Samaritan law” case.
“Had the Laundries truly stayed silent, the court would have granted the motion to dismiss in the Laundries favor,” the judge noted.
“But,” the court acknowledged, “they did not stay silent.”
Days into the search for Gabby, the Laundries released a statement.
The family claimed at that time to hope that the search was successful and that Gabby would return safely to her family.
If the Laundries knew at the time that Gabby had been dead for days, then that was cruel.
The judge noted that such an act “is sufficiently outrageous to state claims for intentional infliction of emotional distress.”
In simple terms, Brian’s parents could have said nothing whatsoever and likely avoided a lawsuit.
You don’t tell somebody that you hope that their kid is okay.
Not when you know that she’s dead.
Especially when your son killed her.
If Gabby’s parents can prove that the Laundries knew at that time, they might win the lawsuit.