LONG ISLAND - A recent court document filed in Sarasota County, Florida, revealed Brian Laundrie called his parents to tell them Gabby Petito was "gone" two weeks before she was reported missing.
Petito, 22, vanished while on a cross-country road trip with Laundrie in August 2021, and her body was later found in Wyoming's Bridger-Teton National Forest.
Details of the phone call and the following events were revealed in the latest amended complaint filed on November 30 in the Petito family lawsuit against Laundrie's parents and their attorney.
Patrick Reilly who represents Gabby’s family says while the Laundries didn’t admit to knowing Gabby was killed, they sent their family lawyer, Steven Bertolino a retainer. Reilly filed a motion to force Bertolino into disclosing what he knew.
"It proves they knew about three weeks prior to the time her body was discovered that she had been killed," Reilly said. "Attorney Bertolino testified in his deposition that he contacted the public defenders office in Jackson, Wyoming, and that’s the county in which her body was located and ultimately discovered."
In the latest complaint filed by Reilly, he alleges Bertolino and Brian’s parents misled his clients when they released a statement expressing false hope that Gabby was still alive.
"When they chose to speak up they made the outrageous statement that they understood a search was underway, hoped it was successful and she was reunited, but they couldn't be if they knew she was murdered by their son," Reilly said.
Gabby and Brian were documenting their cross-country trip on social media back in 2021 when she disappeared, and he returned home along with her van. Gabby’s body was found. Brian committed suicide after writing a confession.
Former prosecutor Imran Ansari says this revelation could be problematic for the Laundries and their attorney.
"What the Petito’s want to get out of this lawsuit is justice," Ansadi said. "You have a right to remain silent but if you choose to speak, you have to make sure it’s accurate and you’re not compromising a law enforcement investigation."
A hearing is set for December 20 to determine whether Bertolino’s attorney-client privilege should be upheld. The civil case is said to go to trial and May of next year.
The attorney representing the Laundries in the civil suit hasn’t responded to our request for comment. Bertolino who represented the Laundries - declined to comment.
He reached out to other attorneys in Wyoming to represent Brian, including a Public Defender's Office in the same county where Gabby's body was eventually found on Sept. 19, 2021, according to the complaint.
Through the lawsuit, Petito's parents, Joseph Petito and Nicole Schmidt, allege that Laundrie's parents knew Petito was dead and issued statements expressing hope at her safe discovery, lying to the public and the Petitos.
Last week, Bertolino confirmed to Fox News Digital that he collected a $25,000 retainer from the Laundries and used it to pay Fleener Peterson, a criminal defense firm in Laramie, Wyoming, about a six-hour drive from where Gabby's remains were found.
FOX 13 Tampa Bay helped contribute to this report.