Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt allege that the Laundrie’s family lawyer, Steven Bertolino, knew that their daughter was dead when he made a public statement about the search.
Bertolino said on September 14 that the Laundrie family hoped ‘that the search for Miss Petito is successful and that Miss Petito is reunited with her family.’
Petito, 22, was strangled on a road trip with Laundrie in Wyoming last summer. Her remains were found on September 19. The van-life blogger’s mother and father earlier sued their daughter’s killer boyfriend and his parents, Christopher and Roberta Laundrie, over her death.
A month after her body was discovered, Brian Laundrie was found dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound in Myakkahatchee Creek Environmental Park in North Port, Florida.
Attorney Steve Bertolino, who represents Brian Laundrie’s parents, said earlier this year that the family has ‘no regrets’ about their response to Gabby Petito’s murder
Gabby Petito, 22, was strangled on a road trip with her boyfriend Brian Laundrie in Wyoming last summer
Gabby Petito’s parents, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, pictured together in June 2022
The earlier lawsuit alleged that Laundrie’s parents were aware that their son had killed Petito and were not being forthcoming.
A statement released Tuesday by Petito’s parents reads: ‘When they did choose to speak, it was through statements issued by Steven Bertolino.’
It continues: ‘It is believed that at the time the September 14, 2021 statement was issued, the Laundries and Steven Bertolino knew that Gabby Petito was deceased, and that under those circumstances, the statement was insensitive, cold-hearted and outrageous.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to Bertolino for comment on the new lawsuit. Bertolino is an attorney based in Long Island.
Earlier this year, Bertolino defended the Laundries, saying they did ‘everything the right way,’ on Wednesday night, shortly after Petito’s family blasted them in court as being ‘callous and shameful.’
The lawsuit involving Laundrie’s family stated that they ‘exhibited extreme and outrageous conduct’ after Petito’s disappearance and is requesting ‘just compensation for the damages they have suffered, together with costs, and such other relief.’
At time, Bertolino said in an interview with NewsNation: ‘What I knew, or what Chris and Roberta knew, we did not have to disclose, to any third party, and specifically to law enforcement, or the Petito family.’
‘I did everything the right way. We have no regrets. The parents did everything the right way, and they have no regrets.’
When asked specifically what the Laundries knew about Petito’s death, Bertolino declined to answer, saying it ‘wouldn’t be appropriate for me to comment’ given the pending lawsuit.
Petit’s family has long alleged that Laundrie’s family they knew their son killed their daughter after he returned to their Florida home alone – and tried to help him flee authorities
Petito’s stepmother, Tara, pictured with her father during a news conference on the disappearance in September 2021
He did reiterate that he told the media months ago: ‘I don’t know exactly what Brian had said to his parents. I had said publicly that what Brian told me was privileged. I was not going to share it.
‘I had conversations with Brian. I had conversations with Chris and Roberta. I had conversations with them separately and I had conversations with them together. So, it’s not for me to comment at this point in time what Chris and Roberta knew.’
Bertolino added: ‘I can tell you what I knew … perhaps, one day what Brian knew, but none of that’s gonna happen tonight on this show.’
The attorney rejected the notion that Laundrie’s parents were aiding their son in escaping the country. He said: ‘Chris and Roberta did nothing but stay in their home.’
‘There was speculation that there were burner phones, that we were dressing him up in funny outfits and sending him across the Mexican border, sending him across certain bodies of water to other countries in the Bahamas or perhaps out on the Appalachian trail.
Steve Bertolino said earlier this year that Christopher and Roberts Laundrie (pictured at their Florida home in September 2021) ‘did everything the right way, and they have no regrets’
‘All of that was fill-it work for the networks that had to fill in some time 24/7.’
Bertolino also placed blame on the press for the Laundries alleged lack of distress during the search through a Florida state park for their then-fugitive son.
‘They were somber, they were quiet and I can tell you they were very upset and very emotional with me,’ the lawyer stated. ‘But when you’ve got a gaggle of press and screaming public out at your door 24 hours a day…
‘Did you think [Chris] and Roberta were going to go down to Walmart and start putting up signs: ‘Help me find my son?’ They knew where their son was. They knew where he went. We said it and as it turns out, unfortunately we were correct, that Brian never left the preserve and I certainly think law enforcement knew that all along as well.
‘Some people in the press and the public question whether Chris and Roberta should’ve done more, but more really could they have done when you had all that law enforcement man power searching the preserve?’
Notebooks discovered by FBI investigators implicated Laundrie as Petito’s killer. In November, a judgment of $3 million was reached in the Petito’s family lawsuit against Laundrie’s estate.