Laundrie told his parents that Petito was “gone” and that he needed a lawyer in a phone call to his father weeks before her remains were found in Wyoming, according to depositions taken by lawyers for the Petito family
Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt are suing Laundrie’s parents and their attorney, alleging they intentionally withheld information about the death of the 22-year-old, causing them pain and emotional distress.
Petito was reported missing by her family in September 2021 after Laundrie returned to Florida from their cross-country road trip without her.
According to an amended civil complaint filed by her parents’ legal team on 30 November, Laundrie called his parents on August 29 2021 and told them that she was “gone.”
Investigators found her remains on 19 September, and a coroner ruled her cause of death as strangulation.
On 14 September the family had put out a statement saying that they hoped Petito would be reunited with her family, despite the call they had received the previous month, says the lawsuit.
“This is very big information for us,” Petito family lawyer Patrick Reilly said on NewsNation.
“The statement is the focus point of this case ... the import is that it supports our allegation that at the time they made the statement hoping Gabby Petito would be reunited with her family, at that time they knew she was deceased and had known for about two weeks and had kept quiet for that two week period despite the family’s pleas for help to find her.”
Mr Reilly said that the family were open to settling the case ahead of a trial in 2024.
“We would consider a settlement but it would have to be under the right terms and no one has proposed right terms for the family at this time, but a settlement is always a possibility,” he said.
In November 2022, a Florida judge awarded Petito’s estate $3m in a wrongful death lawsuit against Laundrie’s estate.