Laundrie also told his parents he needed a lawyer and they heeded his advice and contacted their own attorney, Steve Bertolino, according to Petito family attorney Pat Reilly. A few days later, the family allegedly took a group vacation, even before Petito was reported missing.
Brian Laundrie himself disappeared after the two lovers went on a cross-country trip together. He was found dead by suicide in October 2021 on a Florida nature preserve near his parents’ home in North Park, Florida. He admitted to killing Petito in his personal notebook.
Investigators believe Laundrie killed Petito on Aug. 27, 2021. Two days later, he called his parents, told them Petito was “gone” and said he needed a lawyer, according to the court documents.
Laundrie’s parents then contacted Bertolino, who reached out to several lawyers in Wyoming about representing Brian and came to an agreement with one firm, Fleener Peterson LLC, the documents say.
Petito’s family said they also received a text on Aug. 27, 2021, from Gabby’s phone number that referred to her grandfather by his first name, Stan. The family said Gabby never would have done that.
The Petito family was also furious about a Sept. 14 statement released by Bertolino on behalf of the Laundrie family in which they expressed “hope” for Gabby to be found safe. Both Gabby and Brian were missing at the time.
“For the Laundries and Steven Bertolino to express their ‘hope’ that Gabrielle Petito was located and reunited with her family, at a time when they knew she had been murdered by Brian Laundrie, was beyond outrageous,” the complaint reads.
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