Petito Family Settles Lawsuit for $3M

Negligence case against killer's family is still scheduled for next year
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2022 5:40 PM CST
Petito Family Settles Lawsuit for $3M
Gabby Petito's mother, Nichole Schmidt, speaks at a news conference as her husband, Jim Schmidt, listens on Nov. 3.   (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

A judge in Florida on Thursday awarded the family of Gabby Petito $3 million in a wrongful death suit filed against the estate of her killer. The settlement heads off a trial scheduled for next month in the case filed by the slain woman's parents, Joseph Petito and Nichole Schmidt, USA Today reports. "The Petito family lost their daughter, and they were also denied the opportunity to confront her killer," said Patrick Reilly, the family's lawyer, 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."

The suit said Laundrie's family hindered the search for Petito and knew that Laundrie had killed the 22-year-old last year on a trip, per NBC News. The amount awarded by the Sarasota County judge is an arbitrary figure, Reilly said; the estate doesn't have that much money. Whatever the family receives will go to the Gabby Petito Foundation, he said, which works with other organizations that help domestic violence victims and try to locate missing persons. The settlement does not affect the negligence lawsuit the Petito family filed against Laundries' parents, which is slated for trial in August 2023. In a statement, the Laundries said they hope Thursday's settlement "brings some closure to this one chapter of this tragedy." (More Gabby Petito stories.)

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