Brian Laundrie's parents defend their silence throughout Gabby Petito's disappearance: 'It is what most people would and should do'
Brian Laundrie's parents are defending their silence throughout Gabby Petito's disappearance.
Petito's parents filed a civil suit against the Laundries for "infliction of emotional distress."
They allege the Laundries knew their daughter had been killed but stayed silent about it.
The parents of Brian Laundrie are defending their decision to remain silent throughout Gabby Petito's disappearance, saying that "it is what most people would and should do in such a situation."
The comments were made in a motion to dismiss filing in response to a lawsuit from Petito's parents, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, who are suing the Laundries for "intentional infliction of emotional distress."
The Petitos claim that Roberta and Christopher Laundrie knew their daughter had been killed — but kept the information to themselves and even tried to help their son flee the country.
Filed in March, the civil lawsuit alleges Brian Laundrie told his parents "that he murdered Gabrielle Petito" one day after her death.
While Petito's parents were "desperately searching for information concerning their daughter," the suit claims that Laundrie's parents "were keeping the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie secret, and it is believed, were making arrangements for him to leave the country."
The updated motion to dismiss filed last Friday by the Laundries' lawyer, P. Matthew Luka, defended the Laundries' silence, saying it is their "constitutional right."
"The Laundries' decision to exercise their constitutional rights to silence, privacy, and counsel, and to have their attorney speak for them under such trying circumstances and media pressure, could not be further from conduct that is extreme or goes beyond all bounds of decency," read the 21-page motion for dismissal.
"The underlying event or crime itself, committed by another, may be outrageous but declining to speak or communicate about it is not. Gabby Petito's death is undoubtedly tragic and her parents deserve sympathy," Luka wrote. "However, a parents' grief caused by the disappearance and ultimate loss of a child does not create a cause of action against everyone who may or may not have had information about that child's disappearance or death."
Last summer, Petito, 22, and Laundrie, 23, had been documenting their cross-country road trip on social media when Laundrie returned home without Petito on September 1, prompting an FBI search for the missing 22-year old. On September 19, Petito was found dead at a Wyoming campsite. A medical examiner ruled strangulation as her cause of death in October.
In mid-September, Laundrie went missing for two weeks before his remains were found in a Florida nature preserve in October. Laundrie's death was ruled a suicide by a medical examiner. He was the FBI's sole suspect in Petito's death.
The civil case is set for a trial by jury on August 14, 2023, at the South County Courthouse in Sarasota County, Florida. Gabby Petito's family is seeking damages of more than $30,000.
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