Gabby Petito’s family awarded $3M in wrongful death suit against Brian Laundrie’s estate

SARASOTA COUNTY, Fla. — A Florida judge on Thursday awarded Gabby Petito’s family $3 million in a wrongful-death lawsuit filed against the estate of Brian Laundrie, court records show.

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The award is part of a settlement reached Wednesday by attorneys for Petito’s family and Laundrie’s estate. In a statement obtained by WFLA, the Petito family said that the amount awarded to them was an “arbitrary number.” Laundrie did not have $3 million at the time of his death.

“Whatever monies they do receive will help Gabby’s family in their endeavors with the Gabby Petito Foundation,” the statement read. “The Gabby Petito Foundation will continue to address the needs of organizers that support locating missing persons and to provide aid to organizations that assist victims of domestic violence situations, through education, awareness, and prevention strategies.”

In a complaint filed against Laundrie’s estate in May, an attorney for Petito’s mother said that because of Laundrie, the Petito family “incurred funeral and burial expenses, and they have suffered a loss of care and comfort, and have suffered a loss of probably future companionship, society and comfort.”

Authorities believe Petito was killed around Aug. 28, 2021. Her remains were found in a remote part of Wyoming’s Bridger-Teton National Forest weeks later. An autopsy determined that she had been strangled to death.

Laundrie was named a person of interest in Petito’s disappearance and, after her body was found, in her death. He took his own life in a nature reserve in Florida in October 2021, officials said. Authorities said they found a notebook near his remains in which he confessed to having killed Petito.

Earlier this month, Petito’s family filed a lawsuit against police in Moab, Utah, saying that officers failed to recognize telltale signs of domestic abuse in interactions with the couple two weeks before Petito’s death. City officials have said that they plan to fight the lawsuit.

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