Well, it turns out Brian Laundrie‘s parents can’t completely ignore Gabby Petito‘s family forever.
A couple weeks ago we learned Chris and Roberta Laundrie had filed a Summary Administration petition to request they be named beneficiaries of their son’s estate. It’s an unfortunate legal hurdle many parents who lose a child have to go through. After all, not many 23-year-olds bother to leave a will, so when they pass unexpectedly there’s a bit of red tape to get through.
We weren’t surprised by the filing, more by the revelation an unemployed 23-year-old hiker had $20k in savings. (That has certainly raised some other questions.) But it turns out even the most mundane legal actions in this case are not without some drama.
On Tuesday, The US Sun learned that Gabby’s mother has also filed a claim as part of the Laundries’ petition — to get her daughter’s stuff back!
As you may have learned at some point during the endless coverage of the murder investigation, Gabby lived with Brian at the Laundries’ home for close to two years. That’s one of the reasons it was even more egregious that they refused to give authorities — or the Petitos — any information when they were trying so desperately to locate her. She had supposedly been like another daughter to them.
In any case, the reality now is that Brian — and now the Laundries — had a lot of Gabby’s personal belongings in their possession. And Nichole Schmidt is willing to put up a legal fight to get them back.
Nichole filed a statement in Sarasota County, per the outlet. The claim does not refer to specific belongings — it reads:
“The basis for the claim is possession or control of personal property of Gabby Petito. The amount of the claim is unknown and is both now due and will become due on the release of personal property. The claim is contingent or unliquidated because it is unknown if the decedent’s final photos, videos and words are contained in the property.”
The Laundries’ attorney, Steven Bertolino, confirmed the legal action to the outlet, though he was clearly eager to play down the drama of it, saying:
“This is a mere formality. Mrs. Schmidt is seeking Gabby’s possessions… Arrangements will be made, and they will be given to Gabby’s family without contest.”
No offense, but we don’t see Nichole — or anyone else ever again — relying on the kindness and honest nature of the Laundries. He says it’s a formality, but if they weren’t willing to help out when it appeared Gabby’s life was still on the line, why would they act now without being forced to by law??
Speaking of which, back when we first heard about the Laundries’ motion to get Brian’s money, 10 Tampa Bay reported that a motion date was scheduled for January 18 but was canceled for an unknown reason. We can’t help but wonder if this is the delay? That the petition did have the unusual situation of being contested because Gabby’s parents wanted to get their daughter’s possessions back?
We’ll be curious to see if Bertolino is right, and there are no delays or missing items. Very curious indeed.