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Brian Laundrie’s parents describe ‘day everything hit the fan’ after he murdered Gabby Petito

The parents of Brian Laundrie, the man who killed Gabby Petito, described the day their son called them to say his fiancé was “gone” as the day “everything hit the fan”, according to newly released depositions.

Brian Laundrie’s father, Christopher Laundrie, said his son was frantic as they spoke about what happened on the couple’s cross-country van trip during the summer of 2021 and had asked his parents to help find him an attorney.

When asked what he thought his son meant when he said “Gabby’s gone”, the father said he didn’t know. Those conversations happened on 29 August 2021. Petito’s remains would be found in Bridger-Teton National Forest in Wyoming weeks later.

Her family had reported her missing before officials found her body. The younger Laundrie was found deceased in a nature reserve after he went home to Florida on 1 September 2021 driving Petito’s van. A local medical examiner’s office later determined he had died by suicide.

Officials found writings near his body claiming responsibility for Petito’s death.

Upon his return to Florida, the man’s father said his son seemed like “a kid who came home in trouble”.

Petito’s parents, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, are suing the man’s father and mother, Roberta Laundrie, claiming they knew that their son had intentionally killed their daughter and withheld that information from them.

Previously, a Florida judge awarded the woman’s parents $3m in a wrongful death suit against her partner’s estate.

At the advice of their attorney, the couple said they decided not to return calls from the woman’s family as the investigation into her whereabouts was ongoing.

In this image taken from police body camera video provided by the Moab Police Department, Gabrielle ‘Gabby’ Petito talks to a police officer after police pulled over the van she was travelling in with her boyfriend, Brian Laundrie, near the entrance to Arches National Park on Aug. 12, 2021.

(MPD)

“I don’t know what the right thing to do — I don’t know how to respond to any of this,” Mr Laundrie’s father said. “I don’t know how anybody would handle it.”

When asked why he didn’t feel the need to contact Petito’s parents, he said, “I should have done it maybe, but I didn’t, and then that’s that”.

In this image taken from police body camera video provided by the Moab Police Department, Brian Laundrie talks to a police officer after police pulled over the van he was travelling in

(MPD)

Ms Laundrie said she thought her son and his fiancé “were very sweet together”.

“They enjoyed each other and I thought it was a nice, good relationship,” she added.

On the day she found out something was wrong with her son, she said he had called her for a catch-up. At the end of that conversation, she said he became “very upset”. She then asked her husband to call him.

“He didn’t sound like himself,” she said. “I knew something was wrong.”

Ms Laundrie continued to say that her husband told her Petito was “gone”.

Still, she said she took it to mean that maybe the couple had gotten into a fight and Petito would be pressing charges against her son. She’d also considered that maybe he’d hit her, but wasn’t sure about whether she’d considered that the woman had been murdered.

When her son called her to tell her he was on his way to Florida, she said she didn’t ask about the woman’s whereabouts and thought her parents would come get her.

Still, she and her husband paid their attorney a $25,000 retainer around the day he arrived home.

Ms Laundrie said she believed they decided to hire representation because her son “must have done something or something must have happened that he could be in trouble for”.

Petito’s parents tried to contact Mr and Ms Laundrie through text, call and Facebook Messenger but never responded at the advice of their attorney.

Her husband said he described their son as “grieving” when he left their family home on 13 September 2021, but said she didn’t agree with that characterisation.

Joseph Petito, Gabby’s father, said he questioned why the parents of his daughter’s boyfriend were not helping to bring her home. “They supposedly love Gabby, but all they did was show that they didn’t give two sh*ts about her”.

Petito and her fiancé started their camping trip in the summer of 2021 and she had been documenting it as an aspiring influencer. Her last post on Instagram was dated on 25 August 2021. At one point, she was living with her fiancé’s family.


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