close ‘Heart of this whole case’ is whether Laundries knew Petito was likely dead: Joshua Ritter Video

‘Heart of this whole case’ is whether Laundries knew Petito was likely dead: Joshua Ritter

Former Los Angeles DA Joshua Ritter unpacks new revelations in the Laundrie depositions regarding the death of Gabby Petito and discusses New York’s bail reform chaos after Taylor Swift’s alleged stalker was arrested for the third time.

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The parents of Gabby Petito, a 22-year-old travel blogger whose fiance Brian Laundrie killed her in Wyoming on a cross-country “van life” road trip, have reached a settlement in a civil lawsuit against his parents and their attorney Steve Bertolino.

“Christopher and Roberta Laundrie and I participated in mediation with the Petito family and the civil lawsuit has now been resolved,” he told Fox News Digital Wednesday evening, after the parties met with a third-party mediator for much of the day. “The terms of the resolution are confidential, and we look forward to putting this matter behind us.”

Nothing had been officially filed Wednesday evening, but both sides acknowledged the settlement had been reached after an exhausting session.

Petito’s parents, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmit, sued Christopher and Roberta Laundrie and later added Bertolino to the case, accusing the trio of inflicting emotional distress by misleading them about the missing woman’s whereabouts before her remains were found north of Jackson, Wyoming.


Gabby Petito at Bryce Canyon

Gabby Petito poses for an Instagram photo in Bryce Canyon National Park. (Family of Gabby Petito)

The undisclosed settlement brings an emotional proceeding that has dragged on for over a year to a close.

In a series of depositions unsealed this month, the Laundries acknowledged they had concerns for Petito’s well-being when their son showed up on their Florida doorstep in her van without her, but they denied having any knowledge of her fate before an FBI-led search uncovered her remains on Sept. 19, 2021.

In his own deposition, Joseph Petito was audibly frustrated with the process and lashed out at attorneys for the Laundries and Bertolino.

The lawsuit alleged his parents knew about the murder and tried to conceal it and help him evade justice.

Gabby Petito's parents, Joseph Petito, left, and Nichole Schmidt, center, with their attorney, Patrick Reilly, in court

Gabby Petito’s parents, Joseph Petito, left, and Nichole Schmidt, center, with their attorney, Patrick Reilly, right, listen to arguments by an attorney for Brian Laundrie’s parents, Matthew Luka, as Luka seeks to have a negligence lawsuit dismissed in court in Sarasota County, Florida on Wednesday, June 22, 2022.  Petito and Schmidt claim in their lawsuit that the Laundrie’s acted maliciously by not telling them where their daughter was and if she was alive. (Mike Lang / USA TODAY NETWORK)

Days before search teams found Petito, Laundrie slipped away into the night and killed himself, leaving behind a suicide note and confession in a waterproof bag found weeks later.

Petito and Schmidt previously rejected a settlement offer, but their attorney had said they would be open to one under different terms.

Chris and Roberta Laundrie at Myakkahatchee

Chris and Roberta Laundrie in the Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park on the morning police discovered their son’s skeletal remains. (Michael Ruiz/Fox News Digital)


Reilly recently asked Bertolino to turn over insurance information that could play a role in any civil judgment or come up in mediation.

The scheduled talks came shortly after Reilly dropped efforts to have the court force Bertolino to testify about his private conversations with Brian Laundrie, which he argued are protected by attorney-client privilege.

If the negotiations had failed, trial would have commenced on May 13.

Brian Laundrie talks to cops

Brian Laundrie as seen in bodycam footage released by the Moab Police Department in Utah during a stop after a 911 caller allegedly saw him slapping Gabby Petito in public about two weeks before her murder. (Moab PD)

The two families previously settled a wrongful death lawsuit for $3 million.


Reilly at the time called the sum “an arbitrary number,” but “whatever monies they do receive will help Gabby’s family in their endeavors with the Gabby Petito Foundation.”

The foundation is dedicated to combating domestic violence.

If you or someone you know is suffering from domestic violence, please contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−7233 (SAFE).

Michael Ruiz is a reporter for Fox News Digital. Story tips can be sent to [email protected] and on Twitter: @mikerreports

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