The trial was set to begin in December, but a Sarasota County judge signed off on the agreement between the two families to give whatever money remained in Laundrie’s estate to the Gabby Petito Foundation.
“The Petito family lost their daughter, and they were also denied the opportunity to confront her killer,” Patrick Reilly, the lawyer for Petito’s parents, said in a statement. “No amount of money is sufficient to compensate the Petito family for the loss of their daughter, Gabby, at the hands of Brian Laundrie. Brian did not have $3 million; it’s an arbitrary number. Whatever monies they do receive will help Gabby’s family in their endeavors with the Gabby Petito Foundation.”
Reilly continued, “Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt wish to turn their personal tragedy into a positive. It is their hope that Gabby’s foundation will bring these important issues into the forefront of the public eye to the benefit of all our communities.”
Thursday’s settlement is separate from the lawsuit that Petito’s parents filed against Laundrie’s parents; in that lawsuit, filed roughly eight months after Gabby’s Aug. 2021 murder, her parents, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, accused Brian’s parents Christopher and Roberta Laundrie of “shocking, atrocious and utterly intolerable” actions that caused them to “suffer pain and suffering, mental anguish” and the “loss of capacity for enjoyment of life.”
“While Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt were desperately searching for information concerning their daughter, [the Laundries] were keeping the whereabouts of Brian Laundrie secret, and it is believed they were making arrangements for him to leave the country,” the lawsuit alleged.
Petito’s parents also recently filed a $50 million lawsuit against police in Moab, Utah, claiming officers did not adequately investigate Petito’s case as a domestic violence incident prior to her murder at the hands of her fiancé.
“The purpose of this lawsuit is to honor Gabby’s legacy by demanding accountability and working toward systemic changes to protect victims of domestic abuse and violence and prevent such tragedies in the future,” James W. McConkie, an attorney for the Petito family said in a statement earlier this month.
The FBI closed its investigation into the 22-year-old Petito’s death after finding Laundrie’s remains in November — he died by suicide from a single gunshot wound to the head in a Florida nature reserve — and uncovering a notebook where Laundrie admitted to killing Petito.