June 22 (UPI) — A Florida judge said Wednesday he will decide in the next few weeks whether or not to dismiss a lawsuit filed by the parents of Gabby Petito against the parents of her killer, the late Brian Laundrie.
Wednesday’s hearing was for the sole purpose of determining whether or not the lawsuit will proceed.
Petito’s parents Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt accused Chris and Roberta Laundrie of knowing their son killed Gabby Petito and planned to help him escape from the country.
The two are seeking more than $30,000 in damages.
The case garnered international attention in 2021, when the 22-year-old Petito went missing during a road trip with Laundrie, her fiance who later returned home without her.
The Florida woman’s body was later found in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming last summer. A coroner confirmed she died from strangulation.
Laundrie’s parents reported him missing Sept. 17 and a nationwide manhunt ensued. Investigators found his body and personal belongings in Florida’s Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park around a month later.
The lawsuit accuses the Laundries of knowing about Petito’s death Aug. 28, before her parents even reported her missing. Brian Laundrie returned home early from a road trip Sept. 1 without Petito and claimed not to know where she was.
The Petito’s lawyer, Patrick Riley, argued Wednesday that the Laundrie family then knowingly went on vacation with Brian Laundrie with knowledge he had killed their daughter and issued a statement they knew to be false, praying for her return.
The FBI determined in January that Laundrie did indeed kill Petito, after examining his notebook recovered from his backpack.
Petito and Brian Laundrie couple shared a home with Chris Laundrie and Roberta Laundrie in Florida.