(NewsNation) — Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, the parents of Gabby Petito, have filed a motion asking permission to sue the lawyer for her boyfriend Brian Laundrie’s parents.
Petito’s family filed a lawsuit in March against Laundrie’s parents, accusing them of knowing their son killed Gabby. Now, they want to add Laundrie family lawyer Steven Bertolino to that lawsuit as a defendant.
At issue is a statement made by Bertolino on Sept. 14, 2021 that said the Laundrie family hoped “that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is reunited with her family.”
“It is believed that at the time the Sept. 14, 2021 statement was issued, the Laundries and Steven Bertolino knew that Gabby Petito was deceased and that under those circumstances, the statement was insensitive, cold-hearted and outrageous,” a news release Reilly sent said. “Joseph Petito and Schmidt are seeking justice and accountability for the loss of their daughter and the attendant harm caused them.”
Petito, 22, vanished while on a cross-country road trip with Laundrie in a converted camper van. On Sept. 19, Petito’s body was found just outside Grand Teton National Park in Wyoming.
A Teton County Coroner said Petito died by strangulation three to four weeks before her body was found.
Laundrie was at the center of a search that made national headlines after Petito vanished. It eventually ended when Laundrie’s remains were found in October 2021, after more than a month of searching a 24,000-acre Florida nature reserve. Authorities later confirmed he’d died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.
Earlier this year, the FBI confirmed Laundrie claimed responsibility for Petito’s death through written statements discovered in a notebook investigators found near Laundrie’s remains.
In November, a final judgment for $3 million was reached in the wrongful death lawsuit filed by Petito’s family against Laundrie’s estate.
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