According to court documents, Brian Laundrie called his parents two weeks before Gabby was reported missing. He told them that his fiancee had “gone” and needed an attorney. Petito and Laundrie, both 22, were traveling across the country in summer 2021, when Petito vanished. The case made headlines around the world.
Laundrie was a person of interest in this case and was discovered deadin Florida a month after Petito was found dead in a Wyoming national forest. Officials claimed that he had left a message saying he was to blame for her death.
Joseph Petito, Nichole Schmidt and Laundrie Laundrie claim that Laundrie and her attorney knew that Petito had died but deceived them and the public with messages of hope she would be found.
In an amended complaint, filed on Nov. 30, in the Petito case against Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, and attorney Steven Bertolino. Petito’s parent allege that Brian Laundrie “in a panicked telephone call” told his parents that Gabby “was gone” and that he “needed an lawyer” by Aug. 29, 2021.
It’s only 13 days until Petito’s mom reports her missing on September 11, 2021.
The complaint stated that “On August 29 2021, Christopher Laundrie, Roberta Laundrie, and Steven Bertolino spoke to Steven Bertolino and advised him that Gabrielle Petito had ‘gone’, that Brian Laundrie was in need of an attorney, and that he sent a retainer by September 2, 2021.”
Bertolino, a lawyer in Wyoming, allegedly signed a fee agreement on Sept. 2, 2020 with the criminal defense law firm Fleener Peterson LLC, Laramie. Bertolino was to represent Laundrie. He also allegedly contacted other Wyoming attorneys to represent Brian Laundrie. This included a public defense office in the county where Petito was discovered.
Pat Reilly said that these allegations were made during the Laundries’ October depositions.
Bertolino stated in a press release: “We do not have any comment on the allegations filed.” In the next few weeks, we will file our answers.
The complaint also states that Laundrie sent a text to Gabby Petito’s mother on August 30, 2021 stating that there was no service at Yosemite Park, in order “to deceive Nichole Schimmel into believing Gabrielle Petito is still alive”, according to the filing.
Laundrie returned in Petito’s van to his Florida parents’ home on September 1, 2021.
The complaint highlights Bertolino’s statement released on September 14 in support of the Laundrie Family, who expressed hope that Petito would be reunited to her family near Grand Teton National Park.
The complaint stated that “For Steven Bertolino and the Laundries to express their hope’ that Gabrielle Petito would be located and reunited her family at a moment when they were aware she was murdered by Brian Laundrie, was beyond outrageous.”
The lawsuit said that statements made by the attorney and Laundries caused “emotional distress” to the Petitos, and their conduct was “odious in a civilized society.”
The amended complaint was filed after Reilly had deposed Bertolino and the Laundries in October, prior to the civil trial scheduled for May.
It was a gut-wrenching, eye-opening day for Joe and Nichole. The Laundries, Bertolino and Nichole knew exactly what they were doing when Joe and Nichole searched for information about Gabby. “The level of insensitivity by Mr. Bertolino was shocking, but not surprising,” Reilly stated in a press release on the depositions.